The airport picket line, which began Monday night, and Tuesday morning's port action are to protest unfair labor practices by the Port of Oakland, union officials say. They complained that the port has not released financial information the union has requested and that port officials have implemented unilateral changes during bargaining sessions.According to the SEIU local,
"We feel the port has not taken us seriously," said SEIU Local 1021 First Vice President Gary Jimenez. "They think they are going to get away with imposing conditions on us without a contract.
"Today is a message to them that if they think they are going to back us into a corner, it's not going to work."
Port executives are under media scrutiny for misusing public funds at strip clubs, golf outings and a business suspected as a front for prostitution. Despite a $37 million surplus, they want to impose a 15-percent wage and benefit cut on workers.The SEIU workers' pickets are being honored by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which means the port is effectively shut down, since the longshore workers load and unload the cargo.
(For more, see jpmassar's diary.)