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Green versus Yellow Unionism in Oakland

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, November 11, 2015

Author's Note: This article is a sequel of sorts to my previous piece, Unions and the Climate Justice Movement, which briefly mentions the No Coal in Oakland campaign. The image, depicted at the right, compares a pro-capitalist-logging poster (yellow, near right) ostensibly created by timber workers (but actually crafted by the employers) to mobilize support for a counter-demonstration to a rally and march, held in Fort Bragg in July 1990, organized by the Redwood Summer coalition (which included timber workers). The green poster (far right), represents the Redwood Summer coalition's response, and accurately summarizes their position on timber workers and timber jobs.

At first glance, the Oakland City Council meeting, held on September 21, 2015 looked much like many public hearings where public opposition had organized in response to the plans, practices, or proposals of capitalist interests that threatened the environment. For most of the evening, and well into the night, council members and the Mayor watched and listened as speaker after speaker (out of a total of over 500) either spoke in favor (or against) coal exports or ceded their time to their allies. On one side were a widely diverse group of activists, organized by a coalition known as No Coal in Oakland-- adorned in red (union made and printed) T-shirts--opposed to plans to export coal through a proposed Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal (OBOT), as part of the Oakland Global Trade and Logistics Center (or Oakland Global), and on the other were the project's supporters, dressed in business attire accompanied by several dozen union workers, many of them from the Laborers' Union, dressed in yellow.  As is often the case, the project's supporters tried to frame the opposition as being composed of insensitive outsiders, and themselves and the supporting "workers" as placing the economic interests of Oakland and its residents above all else. "We support good paying union jobs that will help the struggling, predominantly African-American residents of west Oakland" opined the supporters, trying to suggest that those in opposition didn't.

This is an old, and shopworn script, that has been trotted out numerous times in the past quarter century or more. Anyone who has experienced or studied the "Timber Wars" that took place in the Pacific Northwest during the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s will recall the armies of loggers and mill-workers decked out in yellow shirts, sporting yellow foam car radio antennae balls or yellow ribbons who would show up en massé (at the behest of their employers, often with pay) to oppose limits to clear-cutting or protections for the Northern Spotted Owl and to denounce (often) green shirted environmentalists as "unwashed-out-of-town-jobless-hippies-on-drugs" and/or upper middle class "elitists" (or--defying logic--both). Sometimes, in drawn out campaigns, the employers have often furthered this illusion by creating false front "Astroturf" groups, ostensibly composed of workers, to distract attention away from themselves.

The truth is far much more complex and nuanced, of course. Usually the "jobs" promised by the projects' supporters often don't materialize (indeed, the opposite--namely automation, downsizing, and outsourcing--usually occurs). Those in opposition to environmentally destructive practices and proposals are usually composed of and led by locals, most of whom are, themselves, gainfully employed, and sympathetic to the needs and concerns of the affected workers (in fact, the opposition's counter proposals, if well thought out, do more to create "jobs" and job security than those in support of the project). Meanwhile, the actual level of support among the rank and file workers purportedly backing up the capitalists interests could accurately be described as a mile wide and an inch deep, at best. And the bosses? When they speak of jobs, they actually refer to profits. Nevertheless, in the past, the capitalist media has typically and dutifully reported that these projects are opposed by "green clad environmentalists" (or red in this particular case) and supported by "yellow clad workers" (often neglecting to draw any distinction between the workers and their employers).

Therefore, it is both surprising and refreshing, that in spite of the attempts by the employing class to replay that same script on September 21, 2015 in Oakland, the attempt backfired, due to the diligent and tireless organizing by their grassroots opposition. A closer examination of what happened, and how the opposition organized, will illustrate why this is so and how others can duplicate the organizers' efforts to defeat further attempts by capitalist interests to use divide and conquer tactics to push their climate and environment (not-to-mention job) destroying projects through.

Details of the Coal Export Dispute

In 2012, when the Oakland City Council awarded development rights at the former Oakland Army Base to developer Phil Tagami, head of the California Capital and Investment Group ("CCIG"), Tagami assured City Councilmember Dan Kalb that coal wouldn't be shipped through Oakland’s new terminals. On October 23, 2012, Oakland entered into a master development and leasing agreement, the Lease Disposition and Development Agreement ("LDDA"), with a joint venture between Tagami’s CCIG and CCIG’s partner Prologis, the world’s largest industrial property and logistics company.

Tagami reiterated his commitment to a coal-free development in the December 2013 Oakland Global newsletter. "It has come to my attention," he wrote, "that there are community concerns about a purported plan to develop a coal plant or coal distribution facility as part of the Oakland Global project. This is simply untrue...CCIG is publicly on record as having no interest or involvement in the pursuit of coal-related operations at the former Oakland Army Base."

Despite these assurances, Tagami soon took a different course in secret.  In April 2015, the Richfield Reaper, Utah second-largest newspaper, broke the story that four counties in Utah--Carbon, Sevier, Sanpete, and Emery--were offering $53 million to ensure that approximately half of OBOT’s facilities would be dedicated to exports of Utah coal. Reportedly, Tagami’s company initially lobbied Utah coal interests to invest in the bulk cargo facility. Tagami then cut a deal to turn over the operation to a newly formed company, Terminal Logistics Solutions (TLS), for a lease to operate OBOT after it is built by CCIG. TLS is run by Jerry Bridges and Omar Benjamin, both former executive directors of the Port of Oakland. These coal exports would be shipped to Oakland from Utah by rail, primarily along the Union Pacific mainline that follows the old Transcontinental Rail route over the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Donner Pass, through Sacramento, the Central Valley, Martinez, and the northeast Bay Area.

City officials, West Oakland neighbors, local environmentalists, local businesses, union members, and the larger Oakland community were taken by surprise by Tagami’s brazen moves (and to be certain, the earlier statements made by Tagami, asserting that he had no intentions of shipping coal through the facility mysteriously disappeared from the Oakland Global website after the revelations that he had lied were made public, but copies of the original emailed newsletter were retained the Sierra Club and others). Acceptance of Utah’s investment will commit OBOT to handling massive shipments of coal, somewhere between 4 and 10 million tons per year, a use for OBOT that was never disclosed to the public or studied in the environmental review of redevelopment plans for the Oakland Army Base.  The 2012 Initial Study/Addendum to the Oakland Army Base EIR does not mention coal, and simply states that the facility will handle "non-containerized bulk goods," and "oversized or overweight cargo." The key development and leasing agreements relating to the city-owned land on which OBOT will be built contain no mention of shipping coal through the facility.

The community opposes coal exports for the following reasons:

  • Coal dust poses serious health concerns for neighborhoods (like west Oakland) already burdened with a history of environmental injustices and ill-equipped to cope with additional stresses.
  • Confined and/or covered coal transportation and terminal operations would shift the burden of toxic pollution to workers at the site while also exacerbating risks of fire during transport, storage, and loading.
  • Coal dust and leachates can pollute waterways, often with long-lasting impacts.
  • Exporting coal will drive global climate change at great cost to Oakland families and businesses. Oakland and its citizens are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, extreme heat and associated diseases, sewer overflow during storm surges, and increased fire risk.

While not an explicitly stated concern of No Coal in Oakland, it's also true that the coal would be extracted by mine workers lacking union representation (thus lacking health and safety protections normally enjoyed by union miners), working in the union-hostile "right-to-work" state of Utah.

No Coal in Oakland (for the most part), however, supports the construction of the OBOT facility, and supports the creation of well paying, union jobs, as long as the commodities to be exported do not include coal or other fossil fuels.

Tagami, who assured all comers that coal was no part of the plan, now asserts that he is entitled lease the space to a private company to export anything except "nuclear waste, illegal immigrants, weapons and drugs,” leaving concerned citizens and community with seemingly no recourse. However, according to section 3.4.2 of the Development Agreement, the City retains the right to enact new regulations for the protection of public health and safety provided the "City determines based on substantial evidence and after a public hearing that a failure to do so would place existing or future occupants or users of the Project [or] adjacent neighbors...in a condition substantially dangerous to their health and safety."

Many of those opposed to coal exports were already part of a preexisting coalition, originally called Oakland Fossil Fuel Resistance, because its members were primarily, though not exclusively, Oakland residents, fighting a number of pending projects to transport dirty, carbon based fuels--primarily by rail--through Oakland. The coalition includes members of the Bay Area chapter of the Sierra Club, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators' Project (WOEIP), the Richmond, California based Sunflower Alliance, the Bay Area chapter of System Change not Climate Change, IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, 350 Bay Area, and Communities for a Better Environment. The group had already participated in efforts to prevent the transport of dangerous crude-by-rail through Oakland on its way south to the Phillips-66 refinery in San Luis Obispo, and its members participated in and helped organize RailCon15 in Richmond, California, along with the IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, the Sunflower Alliance, and Railroad Workers United.

Why the Unions Were Mobilized to Oppose Coal Exports

Leading up to the aforementioned scene, No Coal in Oakland identified at least three potential prongs of attack to prevent the export of coal through the OBOT:

  • (1) Challenging the project's legality under California environmental law if coal exports are included. And, in fact, Communities for a Better Environment, Sierra Club, San Francisco Baykeeper, and Asian Pacific Environmental Network have--independently of No Coal in Oakland--already filed a lawsuit seeking a court order requiring the City of Oakland to conduct additional environmental review of the Oakland Global project to study the impact of coal exports. If the lawsuit is successful, the developer could not go through with the coal export plan until environmental review was complete, a process that could take several years;
  • (2) Appealing to various agencies in Utah to reconsider their support if coal exports are included. In April of 2015, the Utah based Community Impact Board approved a loan of $53 million to four Utah Counties who would turn that money over to Terminal Logistics Solutions in exchange for the rights to ship Utah coal through the terminal, but the CIB was concerned about the legality of using these funds in this way and conditioned the award on approval of the deal by the Utah Attorney General.  However, six months have passed and the Utah AG has yet to issue a decision.  An attorney from Utah representing various Utah groups has sent an opinion letter to the Utah AG explaining that the use of the $53 million for this purpose is unlawful.   A similar letter was sent by lawyers from the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, and Earthjustice.  This letter was endorsed by numerous environmental groups, including No Coal in Oakland;
  • (3) Appealing to the Oakland City Council to vote to oppose coal exports, specifically adding a new provision under Section 3.4.2 of the Development Agreement between the developer and the City of Oakland, which permits the City to adopt and enforce new provisions to protect the health and safety of occupants and users of the OBOT (which would include workers throughout the facility) and adjacent neighbors (which would include west Oakland residents and even toll booth collectors at the nearby Bay Bridge toll plaza);

The coalition deemed that political pressure from a variety of Oakland based constituents, including the unions based in or representing members working in Oakland (and in the Port of Oakland adjacent to the OBOT), was necessary to secure a majority vote of the Oakland City Council as outlined in this last prong.

Beyond that, No Coal in Oakland includes many members who are trying to coax the climate justice movement in a more class struggle oriented direction (inclusive of both green syndicalism and ecosocialism). To achieve that goal, it will be necessary to cultivate relationships with and forge alliances with union workers, including those involved in the extraction, refining, and transportation of fossil fuels. They recognize that this is one campaign among many to oppose the continued use of fossil fuels and transition to a carbon-free energy economy--one that cannot functionally exist under capitalism (hence the resistance by the capitalist class to such a transition).

Further, No Coal in Oakland hopes to extend southward an emerging barrier to coal and oil exports that has been forming in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes referred to as the Thin Green Line, a series of campaigns that has sometimes won the support of unions, such as ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver, Washington (but has also drawn opposition from some unions elsewhere).

In fact, No Coal in Oakland has--at the time of this writing--helped convince a total of seventeen union locals, branches, and councils to publicly register their opposition to coal exports through the OBOT, including AFSCME District Council 57, AFSCME Local 444, AFSCME Local 2700, ATU Local 192, APWU Local 78, the Bay Area General Membership Branch of the IWW, California Nurses Association, ILWU Local 34 (clerks), National Nurses United, Oakland Education Association, Peralta Federation of Teachers, SEIU 1021, SEIU USWW, UNITE HERE 2850, and UAW Local 2865, by signing an open letter drafted by OFFR.  ILWU Local's 6 (warehouse) and 10 have drafted their own statements opposing coal exports.

Furthermore, the main body of the Alameda County Central Labor Council had passed a resolution against coal exports just three days prior to the City Council meeting (with only the delegates representing the Building Trades and Teamsters dissenting and a small handful of delegates abstaining, but more about that later), thus explaining the heavy union presence there. (Packets circulated among the delegates at the CLC meeting in question also included a letter from United Mine Workers of America District 22 International Vice President, Mike Dalpiaz, expressing concern that the coal was to be mined by nonunion and ideologically anti-union companies, such as Bowie Resources--though no formal relationship exists between No Coal in Oakland and the UMWA at this time).

How No Coal in Oakland Mobilized the Unions

Support for the coal export ban from the unions didn't materialize out of thin air. It had to be mobilized and organized from the grassroots. Fortunately, No Coal in Oakland was well placed to do this. The active core group of No Coal in Oakland includes over a half dozen union members (including the author), at least three of whom serve as delegates to the Alameda Central Labor Council. Support from some of the unions, including the California Nurses Association and (their parent organization) National Nurses United--who've taken very strong stances on climate justice--was fairly easy. Others required somewhat more diligent and delicate footwork, and some unions took exception to the coalition's activities.

For example, Teamsters Joint District Council 7 President, Rome Aloise, sent this letter (to the Oakland City Council) in opposition to the grassroots campaign against coal exports, arguing (essentially on behalf of the developer, Phil Tagami, by proxy) that the coalition's actions could threaten the project and the potential creation of union jobs. In the letter, Aloise made a number of inflammatory remarks and unsubstantiated claims. He claimed that those opposing coal exports oppose the entire project (false) and that the project could collapse without coal exports.

Aloise further asserted that District 7 represents "74,000 railroad workers", and implied that No Coal in Oakland was insensitive to their well-being, but nothing could be further from the truth. In this figure he likely includes the entire nationwide membership of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), which totals "55,000 workers and growing" and perhaps also the nationwide membership of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way (BMWED), which numbers "under than 40,000", both of whom are Teamster affiliates, but are hardly entirely all under Teamsters District 7's sole jurisdiction.

Yet, those who oppose coal exports have no opposition whatsoever to the export of other commodities, such as grain, and most of them agree that the least fossil fuel intensive mode of transportation of those goods would be by rail, handled by those same "74,000" (or whatever) workers Aloise claims to represent.

Furthermore, while the BLET and BMWED supported California SB730, which made it California law that all freight transported within the state of California by rail would require a minimum of two crew members on each train (a measure that the No Coal in Oakland also unanimously supported), a measure that would protect railroad workers' jobs and the safety of all, neither the Teamsters, their rail union affiliates, nor Rome Aloise have actively supported the Railroad Workers United led campaigns to address railroad worker fatigue, to improve track maintenance, or to oppose long and heavy trains. Such measures, if enacted, would almost definitely increase the number of railroad jobs, and those jobs would mostly be represented by the unions under Aloise's jurisdiction! However, Aloise's distortions of the facts were not nearly as important as the details he neglected to mention: Tagami and Teamsters District Council 7 have had a close relationship for several years, often endorsing the same candidates, and taking the same stances on political issues.

Such revelations haven't stopped Tagami and his cronies from accusing No Coal in Oakland of being anti-union or--for that matter--being racist (an accusation leveled by some pastors of some of the local black churches, some of whom--it turns out--were bribed by the developers to the tune of donations amounting to approximately $0.07 per ton of coal shipped through the terminal), but in spite of these accusations, and the Teamsters blatantly running interference for Tagami, the propaganda has thus far failed.

This is due, to no small degree, to the work of the union members in No Coal in Oakland who've run a very well organized ground game, which has included door-to-door and phone canvassing, attendance at union meetings, appeals to rank and file opposition caucuses (such as Teamsters for a Democratic Union--who oppose Aloise on the grounds of the latter being a supporter of Hoffa Jr., specifically in the form of attending a fundraiser for TDU held by union militant, Steve Early, in Point Richmond prior to the September 21 Council Meeting), and more.* No Coal in Oakland's labor committee also wrote a very carefully worded response (also cc-ed to the City Council) to Rome Aloise, which challenged his flimsy assertions on pro-union, pro-job grounds, and they attempted to meet diplomatically with the union officials in the Building Trades--which appears to have had the effect of convincing the latter to take a neutral stance, and that No Coal in Oakland is not composed of unwashed-out-of-town-jobless-hippies-on-drugs who have no concern for union jobs.

No Coal in Oakland also received the support of some allies, including California Nurses Association organizer Marie Walcek and former union official and current Movement Generation organizer Brooke Anderson, who has worked diligently over the past several years to bridge the gap between climate justice activists and unions, including helping to mobilize a sizable union contingent at the "Summer Heat" demonstration in Richmond against Chevron in 2013; organizing road trips to Kern County, in the southern end of California's Central Valley for union members to witness the detrimental effects of fracking firsthand; building connections between northern California unions and Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and Labor Network for Sustainability; and leading several workshops for local unions on climate justice and its relevance to labor. Walcek's and Anderson's assistance also helped secure the support of some of the seventeen aforementioned unions and the Alameda County Central Labor Council, just in the nick of time for the Oakland City Council meeting on September 21, 2015.

Where the Workers Stood at the City Council Meeting

Several rank and file union members, paid union staffers, and elected union officials were among those on the "no exports" side at the Oakland City Council meeting on September 21, such as ILWU Local 10 (longshore) member Katrina Booker, who declared,

"Before I was a longshoreman, I was a nurse in the emergency room for 17 years, so I dealt with all the asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer--all the things coal causes in West Oakland. We need jobs, but it's really human lives that matter,"

...as well as fellow longshoreman, Christopher Christensen, who stated,

"Coal is wrong for our community and wrong for our docks. This community needs good jobs but we don't need coal to make it happen. As the ILWU says An Injury to One Is An Injury to All. No coal,"

...and Local 10 business agent, Derek Mohammed, who opined:

"We can't sell our soul for a job. All money ain't good money. Dope dealing represents employment for some people, but we know it's detrimental to the health and safety of some in the community. (The railroads and port facilities that would ship coal are adjacent to majority) black neighborhoods (that) already suffer from the highest levels of asthma. So no to coal."

...in addition to fellow port union worker, Al Marshall, SEIU 1021 Oakland Chapter President, who said:

“My son has asthma. Depending on which way the wind blows, I have to hook him up to a machine to breathe.”

They were joined by SEIU 1021 member and Oakland port employee Kimberly Moses, who pointed out that coal has become a largely nonunion industry, and Marie Walcek, who reported:

We are being sold a false choice here between jobs versus our health and our environment, and this does not have to be the case if we stand united. The Executive Committee of the Alameda Labor Council passed a resolution opposing coal in the army base, affirming our health is not for sale.

As for the workers in yellow, East Bay Express reporter Darin Bond Graham, who has covered the campaign in detail filed this report:

What was also apparent ... was that CCIG and TLS, the companies behind the coal export proposal, bused in dozens of construction workers to the council hearing, and signed them up for the public comment period, but none of these workers were allowed to speak to the council. Instead they were instructed to cede their time to CCIG’s lobbyists, attorneys, and other experts paid by CCIG to speak in favor of coal. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last time, big business literally paid for the appearance of popular support. I wrote about this tactic back in March. And I’m not the only reporter who noticed it happening again last night.

All night long I attempted to interview at least 20 of the workers brought to the council meeting by but none of them would utter a word. Instead they would look down at the ground. Some would mutter in Spanish that they didn’t speak English. Two of them actually fled me and ducked into a bathroom to avoid my questions. All I wanted to know was why they came to the council meeting, and how they felt about the possibility of shipping coal through Oakland.

But one of these workers did talk to me.

“Lots of these guys are getting paid their regular hourly wage to be here. They were given free lunches and these T-shirts too,” said Oscar Madrigao, a construction worker brought to the meeting by Alarcon Construction, one of CCIG’s subcontractors. “They’re being used,” said Madrigao about his fellow workers.

I tried talking with CCIG’s representatives as well as leaders from the Laborers Local 304 Union about Madrigao’s claims. Fernando Estrada, the business manager of the Laborers Local 304 said he couldn't comment. Several of CCIG’s lobbyists refused to identify themselves to me, let alone explain the situation with the dozens of workers they had brought to the meeting.

At least two people in the council chambers were shepherding workers in and out of the meeting so that they could cede their time to CCIG’s spokespersons. They would bring the workers in through a side door, hustle them to the podium to state their name for the record, and then hustle them out of the chambers. I tried several times to speak with these workers on their way out of the chambers, but several times a woman working with Greg McConnell, CCIG’s lobbyist, literally pushed me to prevent me from speaking with the workers. When I asked her who she was, she refused to tell me.

Outside the council chambers I asked other workers if they had been coached to say nothing to the press. I asked them where they got their yellow T-shirts. I asked them if they were being paid to be there. And above all I tried to ask them how they personally felt about coal. None of them would utter a word.

These accounts were backed up by KPIX 5, the local CBS affiliate, whose video coverage of the event including testimony from another laborer, Eric Tamayo, who confirmed Madrigao's claim (and also declared that he was actually opposed to coal exports--a statement which the KPIX reporter heard and this author witnessed, but didn't make the final print). Clearly this is not what the project's developers had intended or wanted to have the City Council hear or the public to witness, but more significantly, it represents a huge victory for those in the labor movement who seek to reorient it towards climate justice and away from fossil fuel capitalism.

What Next?

The campaign is far from finished, of course. The Oakland City Council has not yet ruled on the matter of coal exports, and could still vote in favor of them (currently, No Coal in Oakland is mobilizing for another important city council meeting on December 8, 2015). If that occurs, the lawsuits against the project will likely move forward and tie the project up as previously stated. While that could still result in a partial victory, at least in the battle to stop one coal export terminal, for green unionists, such a result could actually represent a setback, because it could galvanize the "yellow" faction within the union movement (i.e. those that prefer collaboration with fossil fuel capitalism). If the yellow unionists regain the upper hand, it will make it more different for the green unionists to build a movement within organized labor, and it will make it that much more challenging for climate justice activists to gain support from the unions and the working class--a development which is essential for challenging capitalism, itself an essential necessity for bringing about system change (instead of climate change). On the other hand, if the City Council votes to ban coal exports, it could embolden green unionists within the labor movement as well as encourage climate justice activists to reach out to union workers in order to forge a much stronger, more forceful union movement. Such a shift would be substantially accelerated if climate justice activists and green unionists duplicated these efforts elsewhere.

In the long run, it is likely that the labor movement will become greener anyway, because the damage to both the livelihoods of the working class and the viability of life on earth, caused by capitalism, is becoming increasingly impossible to conceal (in spite of the capitalists increasingly urgent attempts). While the struggle in Oakland continues to unfold, in the Bay Area, union members are becoming increasingly receptive to climate justice and environmental issues beyond their effects on the workers' immediate self interests. Since the September 21, 2015 City Council meeting, several unions have enthusiastically thrown their support behind the Northern California Climate Mobilization. Union members continue to show up to follow-up Oakland City Council meetings to continue and oppose coal exports (this author and Eric Larsen of AFSCME Local 444 testified against them on October 20, 2015). On November 4, 2015, over 150 union members and their supporters attending a showing of Naomi Klein's and Avi Lewis's film, This Changes Everything at the CNA Hall in Oakland, and when the film ended, the room filled with thunderous applause. A revolutionary green transformation does seem increasingly possible within the rank and file of the mainstream labor movement--a province once exclusively occupied by revolutionary unions, such as the IWW.

The timing couldn't be better. Globally, the working class is awakening, and recognizing that there are no nobs on a dead planet, and that capitalism is the source of all of the ills that effect the working class as well as life on Earth. This week Trade Unions for Energy Democracy released a new report arguing that unions support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is short sighted. Railroad Workers United has begun to focus on the concept of Just Transition. And a new coalition of unions has formed to oppose fracking and announced itself publicly just two days after President Barack Obama officially rejected the Keystone X-L Pipeline. Meanwhile, the coal industry is reeling from a rapidly declining market, growing opposition, and a string of bad news. The No Coal in Oakland campaign may not be the lynch-pin in this shift, but it has almost certainly been a major catalyst. Now its up to green unionists and the climate justice activists to seize the momentum gained there and run with it. We have only the world to lose.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Footnote

[*] It should be pointed out that just about every member of No Coal in Oakland, not just the union members, have done a huge amount of incredibly amazing work. In particular, Katy Polony, a west Oakland Resident has contributed countless hours of time and much personal energy to make the campaign a success. Margaret Gordon, one of the directors of WOEIP, better known as "Ms. Margaret", has made sure that the WOEIP office has been available for meetings and provided her expertise having worked on port issues for almost two decades. Jess Dervin-Ackerman, Bay Area Sierra Club Conservation Manager, has devoted invaluable time and energy to this campaign, including participating in the labor committee.