United States: Anti-war strike shuts down ports

According to the May 2 New York Times, ports on the US west coast were shut down on May 1 by dockworkers calling for an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq.

"Cranes and forklifts stood still from Seattle to San Diego, and ships were stalled at sea as workers held rallies up and down the coast to blame the war for distracting public attention and money from domestic needs like health care and education", the NYT reported.

The main West Coast employers' group, the Pacific Maritime Association, opposed the strike and argued it was a violation by its organisers, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, of its labour contract. A PMA spokesperson described it as "genuine defiance".

According to the NYT, "dock workers were joined at port entrances or at rallies by other groups protesting the war or frustrated by economic issues or immigration policies. Some rallies seemed as much like street fairs as angry acts of resistance, with booksellers setting up stands and supporters of the presidential candidate Ralph Nader carrying banners."

The NYT reports in California, some truck drivers decided not to cross the picket lines.' 'They told me it was a picket but if I wanted to go in I could", Cesar Lara told the NYT. "But I'm supporting them and to end the war."

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