Occupy Wall Street supporters from San Diego to Anchorage are planning a "West Coast Blockade" on Monday, hoping to shut down the nation's major ports with massive protest marches. Demonstrators hope to match the success of marches way back on November 2, when thousands of protesters in Oakland shut down the city's port for several hours with a blockade of roads and gates.
Monday's actions are meant to be in solidarity with the nation's port workers, who have become the latest "99 percenters" to gain sympathy from the movement. However, despite claims that union workers will join in the protests and not cross the "picket lines," a spokesman for the International Longshore and Workers Union says they would rather that Occupy protesters stay out of their fight. The union president says he appreciates the support, but doesn't want their cause "co-opted" by outsiders.
A shutdown of the port could cost truck drivers a day's wages if they aren't able to deliver their shipments, which is why most of the union members oppose the action. If any financial losses from the shutdown are blamed on the unions it could also undermine their position in labor disputes with port owners and employers. It could turn out to be a classic example of good intentions and misunderstandings harming the very people that protesters say they want to help.
Oddly enough, the port protests are also aimed at Goldman Sachs, which owns several transportation and shipping companies and is accused of exploting workers with low wages and poor conditions. Occupiers in Chicago and New York are planning to march on Goldman offices today as a show of support for the West Coast.