Protesting Longshore Workers Temporarily Shutter Oakland Seaport

The Port of Oakland headquarters building. Photo: Mark Nero.

On Nov. 2, dozens of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members temporarily walked off the job at the Port of Oakland due to a pay dispute.

The protest was staged by ILWU Clerks Local 34, which is headquartered in San Francisco and represents Bay Area longshore union clerks at the region’s seaports.

According to Local 34 President Sean Farley, the walkout was due to more than 200 outstanding wage claims dating back to June. Some clerks are only owed a few hours of work, while others were due more than $1,000, according to Farley.

Currently, the union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents employers, don’t have a contract because the previous agreement expired July 1, and the two sides are still negotiating a new pact. Because there’s no current, legally binding contract, the union can’t take the PMA to arbitration over the issue.

So because of that, Farley said, a walkout was held in order to protest the matter.

“It doesn’t seem to get any better unless we directly confront the employers,” Farley said, according to the news website SFGate. “They’re cutting back their wages after they already worked. And that’s unacceptable.”

After what Farley said was a productive four-hour meeting with the Pacific Maritime Association, ILWU clerks have agreed to return to work hours after walking off during the morning shift.

As of the publication of the issue, negotiations between the ILWU and PMA on a new contract are still ongoing.