"Support is one thing," Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union, wrote to his members last week. "Outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another and one that is destructive to our democratic process."
The Longshore union tacitly supported the early November picket of the port, as did other unions. But this time, the port shutdown action is being done against the expressed wishes of several unions:
"We're extremely supportive of the message of Occupy Oakland, and we did come out to support the Nov. 2 general strike, but we're not behind this one," [secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Building and Construction Trades Council Andreas] Cluver said. "When working people aren't involved in the decision on whether to shut down their jobs at the port, that's problematic. And we weren't consulted. Losing a day of wages is hard."
Occupy Oakand doesn't seem to see it that way:
“Taking on and blocking the 1 percent at the port is also taking on the global issue of exploitation by capitalism,” said Occupy Oakland blockade organizer Barucha Peller.
It's true that there are some terribly exploitative conditions at ports, especially for short haul truckers. But doing something in the name of workers without consulting the workers involved, and despite opposition even from a very militant union, is disrespectful of workers at best.