Port and school workers map fight against Oakland privatization

San Francisco

The movement to stop privatization of Oakland’s port and schools took a step forward March 16, when a crowd of 90 packed the Henry Schmidt Room at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 hall. 

ILWU’s Trent Willis chaired the community meeting in Longshore Hall, March 16. Credit: Craig Gordon

The goal: to forge a fighting united front to defend public education in Oakland; and ensure that no port property is given away to private investors.

Chaired by Local 10 past president Trent Willis, the Action Planning Meeting opened with each person in the room doing a self introduction. Then people broke into five groups to brainstorm about a name and goals for this new coalition. 

They discussed a proposal for a one-day Oakland port shutdown, possibly on May Day. Other suggestions included running a labor/community slate for the Oakland School Board, as well as sit-ins and protests targeting pro-gentrification politicians like Mayor Libby Schaaf and Governor Gavin Newsom. Planning also focused on stopping businessmen like John Fisher, owner of Gap Stores and the Oakland Athletics baseball team, who is attempting to use Howard Terminal, part of the Port of Oakland, as a location for a new ballpark in West Oakland, which will cost ILWU union jobs in the port.

Attending the meeting were current officers of Local 10 President Farless “Pete” Dailey and Secretary-Treasurer Ed Henderson, teacher and organizer Divya Farias, as well as Moses Omolade, the community schools manager who recently ended a hunger strike to protest the closing of neighborhood schools serving mainly Black and Brown students in East Oakland. 

The next coalition meeting is March 30, 6:00 p.m., Westlake Middle School, 2629 Harrison Street, Oakland.

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