Union Workers Rally Against Systematic Racism At Port of Oakland

ILWU Local 10 members rally for workers' rights and an end to systematic racism at the Port of Oakland.
Photo credit Mike DeWald/KCBS Radio

A rally was held at the Port of Oakland today by union workers calling for the end of systemic racism and stronger workers' rights. 

The rally was organized on the anniversary of Bloody Thursday, when longshoremen were killed in San Francisco in 1934 during a strike for union rights.  

While today’s event was a far cry from the thousands that marched on Juneteenth, those in attendance spoke passionately about the connection between the current nationwide protests and the systematic racism faced by workers in the Port.  

“Right here at this terminal, we’ve had more than two incidents of racial graffiti drawn on the walls,” said Trent Willis with the ILWU Local 10. “We’ve had nooses hung. This is in 2020.”  

Willis said it's important to recognize union workers’ sacrifices in the ‘30s, because if not for them, conditions for black union workers would be different today.  

“If it was up to these employers, we would be getting called the N-word on the job, by the bosses,” Willis said. “If it was up to the employers, we would be out here every day, gathered like we are today, but the only thing is instead of having a caravan, we would be out here waiting for a job.” 

The rally concluded with a car caravan to the Oakland Coliseum to protest the sale of the site to A’s owner John Fisher.