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Center Column Archives
On October 17, workers, union representatives, labor organizers, and community supporters returned to the Santa Cruz Dream Inn for a second rally in a month's time as workers at the hotel continue to demand a fair contract during negotiations. Management wants workers to take a three-year wage freeze, with raises limited to 1% and 2% in the fourth and fifth year. Dream Inn Workers have been negotiating with the Dream Inn for several months now and this offer continues to be unacceptable to them.
After successful blockades of Zim Line ships at the Port of Oakland in August and September, a third blockade was set to target the Zim ship Beijing on Saturday, October 25. The Beijing was rescheduled to dock Sunday, October 26, and then delayed indefinitely. Organizers — remaining vigilant for a potential docking at any time during the week — called for a solidarity march from West Oakland BART station on the afternoon of Sunday 26th, as a show of force to let Zim know that activists would be ready should the Beijing attempt to unload cargo in Oakland. The Beijing never docked at the port of Oakland and instead headed for other ports.
Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) activists in the San Francisco Bay Area came together again on September 27 and 28 to picket and blockade an Israeli Zim Line ship at the Port of Oakland. Organized by the Stop Zim Action Committee this time, Palestine solidarity activists dispersed across five entrances at the SSA terminal over multiple shifts, preventing longshore workers from unloading cargo for two days until the ship left port.
On September 26, workers held a rally at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn to demand a fair contract with meaningful wage increases. Dream Inn workers are presently without a contract and have been negotiating with the hotel for months. Owners are proposing they take a three-year wage freeze followed by 1% and 2% raises in the fourth and fifth years. "We can barely support ourselves now and the Dream Inn wants to make it worse over the next five years," read a flyer handed out to hotel guests at the rally.
In a major victory against the Israeli Zim Lines shipping company, their ship the Piraeus was forced to leave the Port of Oakland after a mass march, four days of picketing, and the refusal of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 to work the ship despite attempts by the Oakland police department and Alameda County deputies to break up the ongoing pickets. The Zim ship is believed by some to have unloaded only a portion of cargo before giving up and heading back out to sea. Oakland's "Block the Boat" victory represents a historic first for the worldwide Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement.
Seniors, union workers and community supporters stopped tech company buses on August 1 at 24th and Valencia Streets to protest the epidemic of evictions caused by the City of San Francisco, which has allowed tech buses to bring thousands of Silicon Valley workers to the City, pushing up prices and evictions.
After two and a half years of protests at La Playa Carmel, former workers who lost their jobs in 2011 continue to return to the hotel to walk the picket line and protest. At a rally held at the expensive, Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel on June 20, two of those in attendance were former workers who had each been employed at La Playa for over 20 years before losing their jobs. "We continue to fight La Playa to make sure that employers around this area don't try to hurt us," union organizer Hector Azpilcueta said.