Four longshoremen in Oakland are taking their accusations of racism to court, reports CBS. They're alleging that the Pacific Maritime Association and SSA Marine are doing nothing to address numerous alleged instances of racism and prejudice in their workplace.
Angela Alioto, the attorney for the longshoremen, described one such incident, which took place directly after the 2016 election. On November 9th, "several Caucasian mechanics" allegedly attached a Confederate flag to the back of a truck and drove around the terminal area at the Port of Oakland while screaming and yelling. The truck itself isn't owned by the Port of Oakland, but rather SSA Marine, which CBS says is based in Seattle, Washington.
Alioto said that both companies "are well aware that the discrimination continues to this day," and that "PMA has not only refused to take the necessary steps to prevent and eliminate the racial harassment and intimidation but has affirmatively obstructed attempts to remedy the harassment."
In addition to this, Alioto also said that one of her clients, Rickie Cox, found a "hangman's noose" attached to a perimeter fence at an SSA Marine terminal in May. Back then, The East Bay Times reported on a mass walk-out of longshoremen at the port, who left and halted operations for hours at the order of union officials. They returned later after those officials conducted negotiations and discussions with the managers at the port. Derrick Muhammad, secretary-treasurer of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, commented on the walkout, saying, "We believe it’s a bonafide health and safety issue because of the history behind the noose and what it means for black people in America. This is a dangerous occupation already. This adds something that totally makes people feel uneasy, makes people feel unsafe and it’s distracting. We need our people to be as focused as possible."
Those incidents will also factor into the current lawsuit, along with other incidents of being faced with racial slurs, offensive jokes and comments, and more. CBS points out that Alioto wanted to make it clear that the Port of Oakland was not named in their lawsuit, and that they're suing Pacific Maritime Association and SSA Marine for unspecified damages.