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How Intermodal Yard Workers Doubled Their Pay

Like many of his co-workers, Levi Kamel was nearly ready to quit. But before he did, he decided to try one thing: win a union. Kamel was making $18 an hour doing backbreaking work repairing container chassis—the trailers that attach to containers so they can be pulled down the road by semi-trucks—at the Port of Tacoma in Washington. He was a mechanic at P&B Intermodal, a logistics maintenance company that operates at intermodal yards across the country. The job was a revolving door. In February 2021, Kamel had been there more than a year, but most workers lasted less than three months. And no wonder: “We didn’t have very good health care,” Kamel said. “We were treated really badly.”

Trucker Protests Bring Work At Port Of Oakland To A Halt

For the third consecutive day, hundreds of independent truckers protested Wednesday at the Port of Oakland. The truckers' main demand is the repeal of provisions in California State Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which would eliminate much of the independent trucking industry on the docks. Hundreds of truckers blocked the entrances to the docks with their trucks, bringing operations to a standstill. Similar actions have taken place throughout the state, and are being loosely organized through informal social networks and social media. The protests in Oakland have grown significantly since Monday, when roughly 100 truckers took part. This grew Tuesday to between 900 and 1000, according to FreightWaves. Operations were heavily impacted Wednesday. The action is set to continue through the week, and truckers are also discussing the possibility of a demonstration at the state capital of Sacramento.

BDS Is Gaining Momentum With #BlockTheBoat Actions

A community picket line in support of Palestinian rights and liberation has succeeded in delaying a vessel operated by Israel’s largest cargo shipping company from docking at the Seattle Port for over a week. The ship, which belongs to Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (ZIM) and is known as the Zim San Diego, was originally scheduled to unload its cargo in Seattle on June 2, but has postponed docking in response to the ongoing #BlockTheBoat picket line organized by Falastiniyat, a Seattle-based Palestinian feminist collective. Hundreds of people are expected to show up in protest of the Zim San Diego if it eventually manages to dock. The current picket line in Seattle comes on the heels of a #BlockTheBoat victory in Oakland, California, where a community and worker coalition led by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) successfully blocked an Israeli ZIM ship on June 4 after 17 days of delaying the ship from attempting to dock.

Israeli Ships Not Welcome At North American Ports

In a major push to hold Israel accountable for its crimes on Palestinians, activists and workers’ movements have put up picket lines on key ports in the United States and Canada to block entry for Israeli ships. As part of an international call for an International Week of Action between June 2 and 9, thousands have held protests in major ports in North America, disrupting operations and blocking ships operated by Israeli cargo companies from docking. Protests have been held at the ports of Oakland and Los Angeles in California, Seattle and Tacoma in Washington, Houston in Texas, and New York City/New Jersey, among other places so far, while more pickets and demonstrations are planned for other parts of North America.

Activists Aim To Block Israeli Ships From US Ports In Solidarity With Palestinians

Palestinian rights activists are aiming to block ships operated by an Israeli shipping line from unloading cargo in key US port cities as part of a campaign to pressure Israel over its numerous violations of international law. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (Aroc), which is leading the effort, told Middle East Eye on Wednesday that its "Block the Boat" campaign had successfully prevented a ship operated by Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd from docking in Oakland, California. Zim, considered the 10th largest shipping company in the world, told MEE in an email that delays at the port prevented it from unloading cargo there, but did not mention the cause. "Due to operational constraints and long delays in the port of Oakland, and in order to meet schedule departures in the Far East, we will be calling on other US West Coast Ports until further notice," the company said. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (Aroc), which is leading the effort, told Middle East Eye on Wednesday that its "Block the Boat" campaign had successfully prevented a ship operated by Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd from docking in Oakland, California.

Truck Drivers And Workers Strike At Southern California Ports

Truck drivers at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, represented by the Teamsters union, started strike action against Universal Logistics Holdings (ULH) this week, adding further to extraordinary congestion woes at America’s principle west coast maritime gateways. According to the Teamsters website, ULH-affiliated companies at the ports “illegally fired truck drivers, denied them back pay, and refused to recognize and bargain with the union [the drivers] legally won.” The drivers have formed a picket line outside the ULH Southern Counties Express trucking yard in Compton, California.

Two People Locked Themselves To Crane At Port Of Tacoma

Two protesters have locked themselves to a crane at the construction site of a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Tacoma this morning, according to activist group 350 Seattle. A spokesperson for the Port of Tacoma confirmed that Tacoma Police and the fire department have responded to the scene. Climate activists and the Puyallup Tribe have been protesting the facility for years. It sits on the tribe's ancestral land at the Port of Tacoma, between two stretches of the Puyallup reservation. Two years ago, the tribe filed a lawsuit against the City of Tacoma, PSE, and the Port of Tacoma, claiming that the project would impact tribal members' ability to fish in treaty waters.

Labor Unrest At California Ports Continue

By David Moberg for In These Times - The nation’s largest port—spread across parts of both Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA—is a strangely varied workplace. And after years of tenacious effort, workers throughout the port may soon share one important tool their predecessors once had: a union and, therefore, a better job. At one extreme of the state's ports, there are longshore workers who belong to one of the most progressive unions in the U.S., the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. It has brought annual incomes of over $100,000 and higher skilled work to many of its members, once regarded as low-skilled. At the other end, there are truck drivers (for “drayage companies,” that move goods from dock to warehouses), who are wrongly classified as “independent contractors”—as the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board recently determined.
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