Oakland Longshore Workers Say No to Coal

Unionised longshore workers and marine clerks at the Ports of Oakland and San Francisco have voted against plans to ship coal from a bulk commodity terminal to be built by the California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG) at the site of former Oakland Army Base, according to International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). 

CCIG reportedly plans to transport around 5 million tons of coal by train from Utah to Oakland annually, where the fossil fuel would be loaded onto ships at the proposed Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) and sent mostly to Asia.

ILWU elected officials say coal is an undesirable, low-value cargo and a broken promise on the part of the developer, and the rank and file members of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 have voted to oppose the handling of coal at OBOT.

“When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash,” said Sean Farley, President of ILWU Local 34.

“They made a ‘no coal’ promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise. Waterfront space is in short supply on the West Coast, and it would be a mistake to lock Oakland into a decades-long lease with a coal industry that many say is dying. Coal proposals have failed up and down the West Coast, and Oakland shouldn’t become the dumping ground for dirty, low value cargoes that no one else wants.”

Image: Occupy Oakland

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