Submitted by x344543 on Sun, 09/20/2015 - 11:51
Staff Report - ILWU.Org, September 18, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Longshore workers and marine clerks who have moved cargo at the Ports of Oakland and San Francisco since 1934 have rejected a developer’s plan to export coal through former Oakland Army Base. International Longshore and Warehouse Union elected officials say coal is an undesirable, low-value cargo and a broken promise on the part of the developer, and longshore workers are standing by community members who do not want the worry and risks of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. After much research and discussion, the rank and file members of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 have voted to oppose the handling of coal at the site.
“When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash,” said Sean Farley, President of ILWU Local 34. “They made a ‘no coal’ promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise. Waterfront space is in short supply on the West Coast, and it would be a mistake to lock Oakland into a decades-long lease with a coal industry that many say is dying. Coal proposals have failed up and down the West Coast, and Oakland shouldn’t become the dumping ground for dirty, low value cargoes that no one else wants.”
After the Oakland City Council granted the California Capital and Investment Group (CCIG) the right to develop the former army base adjacent to the Port of Oakland, CCIG planned to build the Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT) on the site. CCIG has since turned its “no coal” promise into a “coal or nothing” threat, claiming no other cargo will pay the bills. Meanwhile, other West Coast ports are thriving while exporting products like grain, potash, soda ash, salt, and other commodities and bulk products.
“Coal is not the right way to bring jobs to Oakland,” said ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Derrick Muhammad. “Oakland families are already worried about asthma and other sickness because of highways and port activities. It’s not right to ask them to take on the worry and risk of nine million tons of coal passing through their neighborhoods on trains each year. If the developers haven’t found a cleaner, safer product yet, they owe it to the City of Oakland to make good on their promise and keep looking. They’ll find better cargoes if they are truly committed to bringing good, safe jobs to our community.”
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Coast Longshore Division represents approximately 25,000 longshore men and women in 30 West Coast ports from San Diego, CA, to Bellingham, WA.
By Mike Blasky firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: 09/18/2015 04:01:14 PM PDT
OAKLAND — Longshore workers at the Port of Oakland are opposing a developer's plan to ship coal to Asia through a new terminal at the old Army Base.
Members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and Local 34 voted to oppose the handling of coal at a new bulk maritime terminal being built by developer Phil Tagami's company California Capital & Investment Group, union officials announced Friday. The unions join several elected officials, port commissioners, environmental groups and members of the community in objecting to the plan.
"When the developers of the project were seeking tax money and public support to develop the Oakland Army Base, they talked about exporting cargoes like grain and potash," Sean Farley, president of Local 34 said in a statement. "They made a 'no coal' promise to workers, the community and elected officials, and they need to make good on that promise."
The City Council on Monday will hold a public hearing to discuss Tagami's controversial plan, which was revealed when a Utah newspaper reported this spring that a state agency had approved a $53 million investment to ship coal through the new terminal.
That contradicted Tagami's previous public statements that he wouldn't support exporting coal at the base and drew the ire of Mayor Libby Schaaf and several council members.
"He said it to my face," Councilman Dan Kalb said. "He said, 'Dan, climate change is the premiere issue of the day. I care very much about my children and I would never let coal go through any of my property or terminal.' And he was very passionate about that."
Since it was discovered, residents have routinely filled City Hall to protest the coal transport plan.
Councilman Larry Reid and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan co-sponsored Kalb's hearing proposal. Monday's special hearing starts at 4 p.m.
Mike Blasky covers Oakland City Hall. Contact him at 510-208-6429. Follow him atTwitter.com/blasky.