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Independent truckers staged a job action that slowed work at the Port of Oakland on Wednesday, November 27. It was the truckers' third job action since August. The Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) called for a strike at Stevedoring Services of America's terminal, one of the largest and busiest at the Port. In a press release, POTA said the strike was “in protest of unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices by terminal owners and Port of Oakland management.“ Picketers began gathering in the darkness before 5am. About a hundred independent truckers, many sporting their POTA shirts, were joined by at least that many community and labor supporters at the entrances to the SSA terminal.
One picket sign read, “Don't make Truckers Pay the Bill,” another said,“CARB Extend the Deadline.” They are references to the California Air Resources Board's regulation that requires all truck engines manufactured before 2007 to be upgraded to meet air quality standards. One trucker estimated the cost of the required upgrades at between $60,000 and $80,000 per truck and said many truck drivers can't afford it. With trucking dispatch companies and the Port making huge profits, truckers say these wealthy institutions should pay for the upgrades, not them.
POTA reported, “Primary pickets were set up at the four SSA terminal gates beginning at 5am, but due to violent police action, lines began migrating between gates to prevent arrest and detainment of picketers. At least one person picketing was struck by the vehicle of a terminal employee crossing the picket line, and as of 10:30am, there were 5 arrests. Those arrested were cited and released. One police officer was injured when a car crossing the truckers’ picket line ran over his foot.”
Independent Truckers Make Their Voices Heard: Third Recent Job Action at Port of Oakland |
Oakland Port Truckers and the 99% Maintain Roaming Blockade of the Oakland Port |
Truckers Shut Down Port Entrance This Morning 5 a.m. |
Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA)
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Port Of Oakland Truckers Shut Down Multiple Terminals, Deputies Ordered to Break Pickets (Oct 2013)
On the shopping "holiday" Black Friday, protesters positioned themselves in various locations at the Capitola Mall to raise awareness about SodaStream, a company with a factory built on illegal Israeli settlements located on occupied Indigenous Palestinian lands. Santa Cruz community members wore black and held large banners that read "Boycott SodaStream."
SodaStream is a product that allows users to make flavored carbonated drinks at home, and it is sold in the Santa Cruz area at Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Chefworks, Macy's, and Kohl's, among others. Demonstrators chose the Capitola Mall's Target store as the primary location of the Black Friday protest because of that company's overtly stated commitment to "corporate responsibility" and "responsible sourcing." Target's website has a plethora of web pages dedicated to the company's declared interest in these and other issues pertaining to environmental and social justice.
The Black Friday action at the Capitola Mall was cosponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-Santa Cruz Chapter, Palestine Israel Action Committee (PIAC), WILPF-Santa Cruz Chapter, and Women in Black.
Read More with Photos
Students and workers at UC Santa Cruz blocked both entrances and shut the campus down in support of a University of California-wide unfair labor practices strike on November 20, called for by AFSCME 3299
. The strike was called in response to a, "coordinated campaign of illegal intimidation, coercion, and threats," against UC Patient Care and Service Workers who participated in a walk out in May over unsafe staffing levels at UC supported hospitals.
Workers represented by AFSCME include custodians, food service workers, cooks, bus drivers, licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants, and techs. Joining AFSCME on the picket line in Santa Cruz were members of UAW Local 2865
, the union that represents student academic workers, as well as a variety of student groups, which included Autonomous Students UCSC and MEchA de UCSC.
Those living in on campus family housing were allowed to enter the university during the strike. Emergency vehicles were also allowed to enter, but unlike previous campus shutdowns, the police were prevented from driving through, and according to demonstrators were turned away at least once. After a 12+ hour blockade in the rain, those blocking the west entrance marched down High Street to the base of campus for a final rally.
Read More with Video and Photos | More Videos | See Also: AFSCME 3299 Announces Nov 20 ULP Strike at University of California
University of California student academic workers from around the state who serve as union negotiators gathered at UC Santa Cruz to meet with UC managers during the second day of the northern California bargaining session on October 22. To bring more voices to the process, a march to the bargaining location in the Humanities building was held and the group attempted to coax managers out of hiding with a sing along.
When the large group of mostly graduate students reached the bargaining location, which was on the first floor of the building, managers were hiding on the fourth floor. They kept the crowd waiting for a short period, but did come out after the group sang a round of Melissa Etheridge's "Come to My Window." Management would eventually listen to testimonials from student workers and supporters who lined up to voice their concerns.
Student worker demands revolve around wages, student families, the quality of education, and social justice issues. They are members of UAW Local 2865, the union that represents more than 12,000 Academic Student Employees, readers, tutors, TAs, and others at the nine teaching campuses of the University of California. The Union gives them the power to bargain with UC management over salary, benefits, workload, grievance procedures, fair hiring processes, and other issues. University of California teaching assistants are paid about $16,970 per academic year, which they say is $3000 to $5000 less than comparable institutions.
Read More with Audio, Video, and Photos |
University of California Bargaining Testimony |
UC Student-Workers Union Local 2865 | See Also: Towards Mediocrity: Administrative Mismanagement and the Decline of UC Education
| Janet Napolitano Visit Protested at UC Santa Cruz
Oakland Port Truckers have formed the Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) to organize for better conditions and compensation. On October 21, hundreds of independent truckers and over a hundred supporters turned out at 5am at the Port of Oakland in protest of escalating costs for truckers and deteriorating work conditions at the Port. Truckers staged picket lines at multiple terminals. The two largest terminals were shut down, and multiple smaller terminals were disrupted or shut down. Port Truckers returned to the Port at 5:30pm to shut down the evening shift, and they continue to ask supporters from the public to join them again at the SSA Terminal.
Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies attacked picket lines, injuring at least two, and forced many picketers onto the sidewalk. They cited a law prohibiting people from blocking thoroughfares and a restraining order from the Port and City of Oakland, but Dan Siegel, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild who was on site, confirmed that the pickets were legal and neither the law cited nor the restraining order were grounds to deny the truckers their right to picket. Longshoremen refused to cross the picket line and went home for the day, despite losing pay after an unfavorable ruling from labor arbitrators.
Owner-operator truckers are demanding that terminal owners, who make massive profits each year, offset the expense of costly upgrades needed for trucks to be in compliance with new environmental laws. Truckers are also asking to be paid when they are forced to sit in long lines waiting for cargo loads for two hours or more. They can wait in lines up to 8 hours, which limits the amount of loads they can haul in a day and requires them to burn fuel, which they pay for. With the new SSA merger of multiple terminals on the port, congestion is at an all-time high, while SSA has only hired 20 new Longshoremen to alleviate Port traffic.
Read More |
Port Truckers and Community Activists Converge to Shut Down the Port |
Port of Oakland Strike is Underway |
City and Port of Oakland file Temporary Restraining Order Against Port Truckers |
Open letter to the community from Port Truckers |
Solidarity picket, assembly, and potluck for BART Workers and Port Truckers |
Port Truckers SHUT DOWN THE PORT OF OAKLAND
On August 17, two members of the 'Walmart 60' picketed the Salinas Walmart store. They and their supporters continue to ask that members of Wallmart's Board of Directors reinstate the more than 60 workers, known as the Walmart 60, who were fired after protesting working conditions at the retail giant. A number of recent events protesting working conditions at Walmarts in the greater Bay Area lead up to a march in San Francisco on September 5 as part of a national day of action in support of the striking workers who lost their jobs.
Walmart's poor treatment of its Associates was put into context when it was revealed in a recent study that each Walmart store costs taxpayers nearly $1 million in government subsidies for programs such as food stamps and other public assistance that struggling workers rely on to survive. The Associates want the public to know that the vast majority of Walmart workers aren't paid enough to afford basic health care, to pay for rent and utilities, or to keep food on the table, yet the Walton family who controls the retail chain has more wealth than the bottom 42% of American earners combined.
The protest at the Salinas Walmart took place on August 17, the same day Walmart Board Chair and Walton heir Rob Walton planned to race two of his race cars, worth more than $16 million dollars, at the annual Monterey Motorsports Reunion at nearby Laguna Seca Raceway. "I'm here today in Salinas to tell the shoppers and everybody out here in Salinas that Rob Walton of Walmart is really supplying his 16 million dollar race car that he is doing this weekend with taxpayers money," Dominck Ware of the Walmart 60 said.
Read More with Video and Photos |
See Also: Workers United Will Never Be Divided! SF Rally And March To Defend Fired WalMart Workers
Previous Coverage: Richmond and San Leandro Walmart Workers Protest in National Action on Black Friday 2012
On August 16, community members returned to La Playa Carmel for a boycott rally in support of the workers who lost their jobs when the hotel shut down and re-opened in the summer of 2012 after a change of ownership. The labor rally coincided with the final events in a series of "elite" automobile shows occurring throughout the Monterey Peninsula, and protesters marched for justice for the former workers next to Ferraris and other high end vehicles parked in front of La Playa.
At $450 a night for the least expensive room on the weekends at La Playa Carmel, the hotel is a luxury vacation destination where expensive automobiles are commonly seen. Two Ferraris, a Maserati, and an Aston Martin represented just a few of the expensive makes parked in front of La Playa on the day of the boycott rally. As they marched, individuals at the rally held picket signs with messages such as "We are the 99%," "La Playa Carmel Destroys Tradition," "Sam Gross-Man Unfair," and "We Are One: Respect Our Rights."
The expensive cars drew a few extended looks from those supporting the workers, but there was no mention of them when individuals spoke at the end of the rally. "I just wanted you to know the NAACP is absolutely with you, and that Labor Rights are Civil Rights, Civil Rights are Labor Rights," said a member of the Monterey Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: Workers Still Protest One Year After Sam Grossman's Take-Over of La Playa Carmel
On July 9, thousands marched down Market Street in San Francisco to the Department of Education to protest the privately run Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges' (ACCJC) revelation that they aim to terminate City College of San Francisco’s accreditation. Thousands of students could be cut off from this educational resource by 2014.
The ACCJC is currently under investigation by the Department of Education, following a complaint filed by the California Federation of Teachers and the AFT 2121 union, which cited the accreditation body’s violation of Federal and State laws, violation of their own policies, conflicts of interest, violation of due process and lack of transparency. “Our city, state, and federal representatives must step in immediately to reverse this outrageous announcement,” stated CCSF Student Trustee Shanell Williams.
The march on Market Street and rally at the US Department of Education was called by the AFT 2121 and the Coalition To Save City College. The pro privatization chancellor of the Community Colleges of California Brice W. Harris, who was appointed to the position by labor supported Governor Jerry Brown, has dismissed the elected CCSF board of trustees. He imposed a special trustee Robert Agrella with full powers to take over the operations of the college with no oversight by any local bodies. Agrella has a record of union busting and outsourcing of community colleges, and representing the corporateers who want to privatize public education.
Read More with Photos | More Photos: 1 | 2
See Also: Statement by the Steering Committee of the CA-AAUP on the Revocation of Accreditation of City College of San Francisco
| Save CCSF Rejects Legitimacy of ACCJC Ruling
On June 7, former workers and community members marched at La Playa Carmel to protest the first year of Sam Grossman's ownership of the hotel. The unionized workers were laid off when the Carmel-by-the-Sea hotel closed in 2011, and since its reopening under Grossman's management, only three of the former 113 workers have been rehired.
To those at the demonstration, Grossman's decision not to re-hire the workers has been seen as a union-busting attempt which has not worked. They feel that as a result of the demonstrations in Carmel their negotiations with other establishments in the area have benefited, which has further strengthened their resolve to not quit the battle with La Playa's management.
At the end of the rally on June 7, a former La Playa worker named Ramon, who has attended the demonstrations outside of the hotel regularly, said, "I worked here for 22 years and I have some co-workers who worked here for more than 30 years, and it is not fair that they just fired us like that. Thank you for supporting us to continue our fight." Former La Playa Hotel server Shirley Smith was quoted in a press release for the demonstration as saying, "One year after the reopening that dashed our hopes, we are still fighting for justice at La Playa. We won't quit."
Read More with Photos and Videos
Friday, July 12: BOYCOTT Rally at La Playa Carmel
Previous Coverage: Labor Gives Management Bag of Coal at La Playa Carmel Holiday Workers Rally
|La Playa Carmel Labor Demonstrations Receive Boost from Quail Lodge Contract Victory
| Boycott of La Playa Carmel Announced at Hotel Workers Rally
| Carmel Becomes Center of Conflict in Monterey Bay Hotel Industry
On May Day 2013, the fight for a $15 "Livable Wage" came to Oakland. New York City led the way with two walkouts by low-wage workers in the fast-food industry, the first in November 2012, and the second on April 4, 2013. In November, about 200 New York fast-food workers at 30 stores went on strike for a $15 hourly wage. Then nearly 400 workers walked out. Next up was Chicago on April 24, 2013. Hundreds of fast food and retail employees in Chicago began a mass walkout, calling for the city’s minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. Then it was Oakland's turn. Organized by the Livable Wage Assembly, an outgrowth of Occupy Oakland's Labor Solidarity Committee (the group which organized the December 12, 2011 shutdown of the Port of Oakland), their first action was a rally at Oscar Grant Plaza and noise demonstration through the streets of Oakland on May 1 to raise awareness of the campaign. Organizers sought to enable the struggle of low-wage workers to challenge their bosses for a livable wage. The City of Oakland's minimum wage is just $8.00/hr, the same as California's, making life difficult for many as housing costs continue to rise. The noise demo focused on companies like McDonalds, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Taco Bell and a host of other chains in the downtown area. The noise march in Oakland followed a Sin Fronteras march from Fruitvale BART station earlier in the day.
Immigrant rights and labor actions took place in many Bay Area and Northern California cities on May Day including San Francisco, San Jose, Salinas, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz. On May 3, protests continued at the La Playa hotel in Carmel.
Marchers Speak Out For Justice
Anti-Capitalist March and Occupations
, 12pm |
LaborFest Screening of "Dreamwork China" At ILWU Local 34
A Perfect Day for a March. A Perfect Beginning For The Fight For $15
May Day march for immigrant rights
Oakland Sin Fronteras Fruitvale march and rally
, 3pm |
Autonomous/Anarchist People of Color Contingent
, 3pm |
May Day: Fight for $15!
March for Immigrant Rights
May Day March - International Workers' Day
May Day march for Immigrant Rights
May Day Rally for Immigration Reform
May Day Rally for Immigration Reform
Rallying for Immigration Reform on May Day in Santa Cruz
May Day Rally for Immigration Reform
May Day: The Fight for $15 Comes to Oakland |
Call to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers! |
May Day (May 3rd) Rally at La Playa Carmel |
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Nationwide May Day General Strike Looms Large Locally with Diverse Actions Across Bay Area
May Day in Santa Cruz: Creating an Ongoing Network of Solidarity
On January 10th, IWW members and community allies staged an informational picket and rally to build energy towards what organizers think will be a protracted contract negotiation with Berkeley's Ecology Center. Management at the non-profit recycling center is looking to offer minor wage increases over the next two years, impose a wage freeze for the remaining three years of the new contract, and remove any employer-related benefit contributions. Negotiations were also planned on January 15th, and workers have vowed to continue fighting against any and all concessions proposed by management of the company.
Marc Norton writes:
The IWW has had a contract with the Ecology Center since 1989, but it looks like it might be a fight when that contract expires on February 1. The San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the IWW may not have the clout of the venerable AFL-CIO, but they ain’t pushovers either. According to Bruce Valde, the Branch Secretary, the Ecology Center contract is the “oldest existing IWW contract in the known universe."
Berkeley Ecology Center vs. the "oldest existing IWW contract in the known universe" | Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Previous Coverage: Berkeley curbside recyclers win IWW contract fight
|| Recylcing Workers say "NO!" to management's proposed cuts!
On Friday, September 7th, members from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 blocked the entrance to the de Young art museum in San Francisco. Nineteen people were arrested, and the attendees at the museum's “Friday Nights at the Museum” event were greeted with loud chants, singing, and civil disobedience.
According to Anna Bakalis from SEIU 1021, the management at the museum is intimidating and using “anti-worker tactics” to make cuts to the salaries of the “least paid workers” employed there.
In response, members of the Service Employees International Union marched in on the Friday night event, and chanted and sang while blocking the museum entrance. SEIU members and supporters are urging management to stop withholding information used in collective bargaining, to stop lowering wages of the lowest paid workers, and to stop giving the managers raises.
Read More and View Photos | SEIU1021 Supporters & SF Museum Workers Occupy de Young To Get Contract Without Concessions | SEIU 1021 activists arrested barricading de Young Museum entrance