It's no great shock that blue-collar workers falling outside the esteemed food service industry are as despised by the right as they are they left. They're poor. They lack iconic ¡todos somos! credibility. And who wants to be poor and uncool? Not you. No matter how much Tecate or PBR you loudly consume. And both left and right bellyachers seem to know what's best for... them. Take, for example, Monday's temperate Port of Oakland closure by the Occupy Oakland sect. Although the Occupy movement said that the West Coast closures were an attempt to draw focus on "continued union-busting and attacks on organized labor," several noted union teams reportedly did not approve the shutdown beforehand. Neither the Teamster's union nor the International Longshore and Warehouse Union cleared the strike, or so says the Mercury News.
Both organizations said that the shutdown hurts barely paid truck drivers and blue-collar workers who fall well outside the socioeconomic circles of the infamous 1 percent. In part of a written statement issued on Sunday, former Cal activist and current Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, "The Port of Oakland is not the home of the 1 percent. Rather, it generates over 73,000 jobs in the region and is connected to more than 800,000 jobs across the country. It is one of the best sources of good paying blue-collar jobs left in our city."
But wait! According to this open letter from the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports from drivers acting as elected spokespersons from several ports (and ghostwritten by a PR person in an office), frontline workers did, in fact, support yesterday's shutdown. In part of a lengthy statement, Leonardo Mejia (SSA Marine/Shippers Transport Express, Port of Long Beach 10-year driver), Yemane Berhane (Ports of Seattle & Tacoma, 6-year port driver), Xiomara Perez (Toll Group, Port of Los Angeles, 8-year driver), Abdul Khan (Port of Oakland, 7-year port driver), and Ramiro Gotay (Ports of New York & New Jersey, 15-year port driver) proclaim:
[...] We believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12. Our friends in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports created a pledge you can sign to support us here.
We drivers have a saying, “We may not have a union yet, but no one can stop us from acting like one.”
The brothers and sisters of the Teamsters have our backs. They help us make our voices heard. But we need your help too so we can achieve the day where we raise our fists and together declare: “No one could stop us from forming a union.”
What say you, blue-collar workers? What do you think? When you have a spare moment from working double overtime at two jobs in order to pay for a limited Christmas for your family, please make sure to voice your opinion in the comments.