– Unreported as of yet, Portland successfully shutdown 4 port terminals throughout the day. Terminal #4, #5, and #6 were shut out all day, and trains were also blocked. After the ILWU terminals were blocked, Portland spent the evening blocking a scab terminal at gate # 7. – Anonaminita.
From Portland Occupier. Dec. 12:
"Sorry for any inconvenience while we fix our economy" By: Lauriel
The global revolution continues today as Occupations across the the world coordinate efforts to clog a vein of the 1%, if even a day. In Portland, several weeks of organization and three meetings with attendance hovering around one hundred planners led up to today’s actions. While the mainstream media tried to pin Occupy protesters against the Unions, all along, protesters knew that rank-and-file unions members stood in solidarity. Statements like this one from Craig Merrilees, the ILWU communications director were touted by the mainstream media to discredit the action.
“This is being promoted by a group of people who apparently think they can call general strikes and workplace shutdowns without talking to workers and without involving the unions.”
Anyone with a basic understanding of how Unions currently operate knows that to maintain their contracts, statements like these are issued in order to avoid conflict. Years of US policies crafted behind doors by ALEC and others have drained much vitality from Unions across the country.
Jared Lorio, an organizer states,
“[The lack of support from the ILWU] sheds light on the fact that our unions have been hamstrung and made ineffective by laws designed to curtail workers organising for their rights to better pay and conditions in this country.”
So without officially coming out, unions across the US were organizing for December 12th.
A constant concern from general public that listened to the daily news on TV asked repeatedly, “What is the point of affecting union and other workers pay and livelihood when there is a publicly communicated 10 per cent unemployment rate and a real unemployment rate of 16 per cent in the metro area? On days like this port shutdown, you are missing the real point – jobs”. And there’s really only one way to answer that question, “that this is one day of showing unity versus everyday of feeling that all of us, alone, are being taken advantage of”.
The Capitalist Pig - Photo by Justin
In Portland, protesters took on several different avenues to show their support. Some brought giant capitalist pig puppets that greedily shoved money into their mouths. Some brought sound systems to keep the crowds warm and lively. And some put their safety on the line to prove that what’s happening here and around the world is absolutely wrong and must stop.
Three of these protesters are Shawna, Eddie, and Lara. They laid their bodies down on the cold metal tracks that see millions of pounds of goods roll over them every day. They successfully diverted one train, which upon hearing of the protesters, reversed and was taken off course. A truck was also successfully stopped from crossing the tracks. But then, a front-loader operator from Millbank Material USA decided to take matters into his own hands and rolled up to the protesters in his gigantic beast of a truck. Police watched and reported on the scanner that the loader was rolling towards the protesters. They stepped aside to let him through. He lowered the bucket down, inches away from crushing the protesters’ skulls and legs. Another worker cheered the driver on from the background, “Run the motherf***ers over!” The protesters remained steadfast in their resistance. They were not going to move.
Upon witnessing this, a larger group of protesters ran over to to driver and screamed at him to stop, which he did.
Police monitering the scene reported on the radio that they spoke with the operator and that he claimed that his bucket was broken. Another police officer replied that he’d seen him operating it a little earlier with no problems.
The manager of Millbank Material USA forced the operator to come out and apologize. The conversation that followed is paraphrased below.
Operator: “I’m just really frustrated that you wouldn’t move for our trucks. We’re just trying to get our jobs done.”
Protester: “I’m sorry that you’re trying to do your job but safety is part of your job – that was not safe. You can’t pretend you have no idea what is happening.”
We Will Not Be Intimidated By: Justin
When asked why Shawna was willing to risk her life, her reply was,
“I came into this movement knowing that I may lose my friends, my family, my reputation. I have a child. what I do today won’t have an affect on me today, but it will have affect on his future. When he’s my age, he won’t be struggling to get nowhere. If that takes laying down on a track, risking getting crushed by a frontloader, then it’s worth it.”
The disconnect that some everyday workers have to the systemic problems around this world is disturbing. Occupiers do not want to wait for the day that each of these workers suffers some egregious harm to have them join the movement. All workers should recognize that, just like the ILWU’s motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” The world is waking up to the fact that an injustice to one is an injustice to all.
From The Oregonian. Dec 12:
Occupy Portland protesters block work at three Port of Portland terminals
BY: LAURA GUNDERSON and ELLIOT NJUS
Taking aim at large corporations that benefit from trade, protesters block a truck at the Port of Portland. Smaller businesses said they, too, were hurt by the daylong protest. "Who the heck are (they) trying to hurt?" asked Shauna Watts, owner of a four-person firm that helps shippers. "It's Oregon's pocketbook: It's our local employers, local truck drivers and local workers at the dock."
Shelly Boshart’s small family company packs straw grown by 80 Willamette Valley farmers and trucks it to the Port of Portland so it can be shipped off to feed cows in Asia.
Yet Monday, Boshart became a target of the Occupy Movement as her truck drivers sat stranded outside terminals at the Port of Portland, which officials shut down in the face of one-day protests organized at ports up and down the West coast.
Port officials said the early morning decision to close Terminals 5 and 6
put safety ahead of business. Indeed, around 375 International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers on two shifts went without work — or pay — for the day, said Mike Gardner of ILWU Local 8 of Portland. Dozens of locally based companies like Boshart’s paid their employees but said they’d lost anywhere from $400 to $10,000 as they reworked the logistical puzzle of managing loads of everything from hay and animal feed to consumer goods with Columbia Sportswear, Nike and Intel labels.
Around 5 p.m., members of the anti-Wall Street movement surprised Port officials by then gathering around 400 deep at Terminal 4, where work unloading a ship was abandoned and 25 workers sent home with just four hours pay.
The intent, protesters said
, was to hurt large corporations that make millions off importing and exporting. They pointed to SSA Marine, a cargo-handling company at the Port of Portland that is owned by Goldman Sachs — a favorite target of Occupy Wall Street protesters’ anger nationally. Demonstrators also said they were there to lend support to the ILWU and Warehouse Union Local 21 in Longview, which are engaged in a bitter labor dispute over staffing of a grain terminal there.
Dave Badders/The Oregonian
“We’re trying to send the message that a day without importing and exporting hurts,” said protester Shawna Gonzelez. “We’re hurting them where it hurts, and that’s taking away the tools of their trade.”
The mostly peaceful gathering of protesters said they were there “in solidarity” with workers. Although idled Monday, workers likely will get extra work this week handling the shipments stuck in Port, protesters reasoned.
What started as a picket line with chants and marching became more of a party by the afternoon as protesters received word that officials had canceled evening shifts at terminals 5 and 6.
Demonstrators, some who’d brought portable toilets and food, set up a deejay on a trailer and began an impromptu dance party. Others skateboarded or napped off their early-morning marches. Around 4 p.m., the group gathered again and headed for Terminal 4.
“We shut it down this morning. We shut it down this evening,” shouted one organizer. “And we’re going to go to T4 and shut it down there.”
After the final round of workers were sent home Monday night, crowds gathered outside the port at Schnitzer Burgard Industrial Park in North Portland. There, trucker Dan Kephart of Gaston waited for 15 minutes as his wife negotiated with protesters to let them in to pick up a load.
“Everybody’s got their right to protest — I just won’t get paid if I can’t pick up the load,” he said, inching his truck slowly into the driveway. “I’m just a guy trying to make a living.”
Three demonstrators holding signs eventually let Kephart pass, as angry drivers leaving the lots sped past the crowds.
Port officials and tenants had decided to close the first two terminals around 6 a.m. after hearing organizers planned only a one-day gathering, said Josh Thomas, a port spokesman. Local protesters said Monday night they had no plans for further demonstrations on Tuesday.
“Being able to control a group that big when they have expressed a direct intent to impede traffic presents safety hazards,” he said. “We’re not equipped to handle large numbers of people standing in the way of hundreds of trucks coming through the terminal rapidly.”
West Coast seaports generate more than $700 million a day in economic activity and a daylong shutdown could affect as many as 260,000 employment hours and more than $9 million in wages, Thomas said. He didn’t have figures for lost revenue and income on Monday, or the cost to respond to the protest.
Occupy Portland protesters sit on the sign for the Port of Portland's Terminal 6 early Monday as groups blocked the entrance there and at Terminal 5. "We're helping the unions by showing solidarity," said Doug Gless, who said he's with Occupy Oregon City. "They haven't lost those hours, they just got postponed. The product still has to go out."
If the port had decided to stay open, City of Portland police could have helped keep trucks moving in and out, said Sgt. Pete Simpson. As it was, Portland police made three arrests, including an Occupy-bound driver who had a suspended license, a loaded gun, radios, gas masks and a sword.
Some local businesses voiced frustration that the port chose to close, although Gardner of the ILWU said that having seen the dawn gathering, it was probably a good idea to avoid clashes.
Matt Hodson, vice president of operations for the Portland-based trucking company Summit NW Corp., had planned to drop off 10 containers at Terminal 6 on Monday. The loads, bound for the Pacific Rim, included aircraft parts from Aurora and shipments from Fairview, Ore.-based manufacturer Cascade Corp., and Nike. Luckily, he said, the ship can’t leave without his cargo.
“Still, this delays everything for a day,” said Hodson, who’d had eight drivers and 15 warehouse workers headed for the Port, some of whom he was able to divert to other jobs. Hodson figures he’s set back about $10,000, an amount he could possibly recoup, although he faces double the workload today.
“This completely defeats the message Occupiers are trying to get across,” he said. “This obviously affected more than just corporations.”