Work Stoppage At Port Of Oakland After Longshore Worker Death

OAKLAND (KCBS) – The Port of Oakland was effectively shut down Wednesday morning after a number of longshore workers skipped worked because of the death of a worker at the port on Tuesday.

45-year-old Joy Daniels of Suisun City collapsed while on the job on Tuesday, though the Alameda County Coroner’s Office said her death was not work-related, rather that she had an undisclosed medical condition.

The fatality was reported Tuesday in the late afternoon at the TTI Terminal, Port of Oakland spokesman Robert Bernardo said.

“Everyone is just very saddened by this tragic news. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time,” he said. “It is definitely a somber mood right now because of this.”

Leaders of ILWU Local 10 said that when there is a fatality in the workplace, traditionally in solidarity, its members choose not to work, a sympathy work stoppage of sorts.

Dozens of trucks couldn’t drop off or pick up containers at the Hanjin Terminal (Berths 55-56) on Wednesday morning with the work stoppage in place.

Workers and drivers got no advanced warning of the work stoppage, and many expressed frustration.

“It’s a tragedy but it shouldn’t happen,” said a Hanjin worker who identified himself as ‘John.’ “People die everyday. It wasn’t an accident that killed her. All these truck drivers can’t come in and the ships are not going to get the cargo it needs.”

Many truck drivers expressed unhappiness because they were basically losing a day of pay, as they weren’t able to drop off their cargo.

Officials with the Port of Oakland said that all terminals were closed on Tuesday night and are expected to remain closed throughout Wednesday.  They said they expect longshoreman back on the job for the 7:00 p.m. shift on Wednesday night.

Union leaders said everyone is devastated by the loss of Daniels and that their thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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