Occupy Seattle's account of yesterday's port protest is an interesting read, and I can't dispute that many truckers and longshoremen sympathize with their cause and support their actions. But I can correct them on a couple of facts:
At 5pm, reports came through that the union arbitrator had ruled in favor of protesters, deeming the picket too dangerous to cross. The shipping company called off work at Terminal 18 for the evening. In accordance with union contract, dispatched longshore workers were nonetheless paid for their time.
According to a spokesman for International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 19, the night shift at Terminal 18 (6 pm to 2 am) was canceled by the operators ahead of the contractual deadline, meaning the 60 to 80 longshoremen, foremen, and clerks scheduled for the shift last night will not be paid. I know that wasn't the Occupiers' intention, but that's what happened.
The crowd of Terminal 18 dissipated and joined Terminal 5. After two hours of picketing, the union arbitrator once again ruled in favor of protesters, calling off work at the terminal.
Work was disrupted at Terminal 5, but not canceled, so the ILWU dispatched work orders "through completion." However, ILWU says that the shipper, American President Lines, is refusing to pay workers for the disrupted shift, a contractual dispute that will ultimately be worked out between the shipper and the union. "It's being discussed," the union says.
Considering the scope of yesterday's west coast port protests, I'd have to call shutting down all or parts of four ports a bit of a success. But when they're impacting the livelihoods of fellow members of the 99 Percent, Occupiers need to honestly own up to the consequences of their actions, even if they're unintended.
So here's a free PR tip to the Occupy Seattle media team: It's more effective to spin the facts than to ignore them.