International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members have shut down the Port of Oakland because of a death on the job. The union is “standing down” to show solidarity with Joy Daniels, who died in a vehicle crash last night. It also wants to ensure that authorities conduct an investigation into why and how that death occurred.

Oakland's port is closed today as officials investigate the death of a worker last night. (Mark Hogan/Flickr)
Oakland’s port is closed today as officials investigate the death of a worker last night. (Mark Hogan/Flickr)

“We have to investigate it to make sure that there wasn’t a malfunction in the vehicle or that something else didn’t happen that we could have avoided,” ILWU Local 10 President Michael Villeggiante said.

According to Villeggiante, this is the third death at the Port of Oakland this year and the second in just two months.

Villeggiante acknowledged that shutdowns like this frustrate truckers and slow down Port operations, but he also said this is a time to mourn and correct any mistakes that might have been made.

“As a union we believe we’re each other’s brothers and sisters as workers,” Villeggiante said. “So we’re mourning her and her family. And also at the same time investigating what has taken place. So speak about emotions, yeah,  I would say a lot of my membership is quite upset.”

He also noted that one of the union’s responsibilities is to be a checks-and-balance system for the employer, to make sure lives aren’t put at risk.

“It seems that any time a worker questions something, they become not a good worker,” Villeggiante said. “It’s not that. You question things to make sure that in the duties of my day, it’s not going to kill me.”

ILWU Local 10 workers will return to jobs at the Port this evening.


Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She's worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She's a staff writer for KQED's education blog MindShift.

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