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Truck Drivers Left To Hustle If West Coast Ports Shut Down

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By: Robyn Gee

Could a proposed shutdown of all West Coast ports on December 12 hurt truck drivers?

West Coast occupiers are coming together in a collaborative effort to attempt a shutdown of all major West Coast ports on December 12. They will model the shutdown on Occupy Oakland's Nov. 2 action, when thousands of people showed up to protest at the Port of Oakland to demonstrate against multinational corporations.

Sites that plan to participate in the coordinated shutdown include Occupy LA, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Seattle and Occupy Oakland, and smaller cities plan to direct their supporters to those ports, according to Barucha Peller, a member of the Occupy Oakland Port Blockade Assembly.

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Photo Credit: ALEJANDRO DE LA CRUZ/Turnstyle News
5,734 truck drivers are registered at the Port of Oakland.

The West Coast Port Shutdown is acting in solidarity with two labor struggles going on in Los Angeles and Longview, WA. An Occupy press release explaining the action reads:

"We're shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the 1%: the firing of Port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture ILWU union jurisdiction in Longview, WA by EGT."

The Occupy sites are calling Goldman Sachs and EGT, "Wall Street on the waterfront."

But this scheduled port shutdown may be bad news for some truckers. At the Port of Oakland, some independently contracted truck drivers said they were dismayed by the plan.

"It's going to have a snowball negative effect. I depend on the port to feed my family. Why should I have to be put in a predicament because these people lack the skills to get a job?" said Vladimir Torres, an independent trucker who is based out of Long Beach, CA and comes to the port of Oakland on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Torres is an independent contractor who pointed out that he would be dually affected because he works at two West Coast ports.

The Teamsters union, which is the largest transportation union in the country and has publically supported the Occupy protesters in the past, includes truck drivers, airport shuttle drivers, delivery drivers and truck drivers. It is not supporting the Dec. 12 shutdown precisely because of how it could affect people like Torres.

Read the entire report on Turnstyle News.

Originally published on Turnstylenews.com, a digital information service surfacing emerging stories in news, entertainment, art and culture; powered by award-winning journalists.

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