ILWU Local 10 SSA Workers Walk Out To Protest Racist Nooses

ILWU Local 10 SSA Workers Walk Out To Protest Nooses
Second noose in 2 weeks found at Port of Oakland terminal
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Second-noose-in-two-weeks-found-at-Po...
By Evan Sernoffsky Updated 5:24 pm, Thursday, May 25, 2017

A worker at the Port of Oakland discovered a noose inside a truck at a shipping terminal Thursday — the latest in a series of racist incidents at the facility in recent weeks, officials said.
Thursday’s episode was the second noose found at the port in two weeks and prompted SSA Marine workers at the Oakland International Container Terminal to walk off the job for several hours in the morning, said Derrick Muhammad, secretary-treasurer of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10.
“This kind of thing adds to the insecurity and the feeling of unsafeness,” Muhammad said. “When you have 80,000-pound boxes and fast-moving equipment, you want to feel safe in that environment. Then when you must worry about racism and hatred, that just adds to the discomfort.”
Bob Watters, senior vice president of SSA Marine, said that he was aware of the episode and that the company is taking steps to investigate.
An arbiter, though, determined the noose did not qualify as a legitimate health-and-safety issue, and union workers headed back to the job around noon, he said.
“From our understanding, the object in question was the size of a key-chain lanyard,” Watters said. “SSA has a zero-tolerance policy for any discriminatory behavior.”
In November, someone scrawled racist graffiti on equipment inside a shipping terminal, Muhammad said. The racial epithet was scrawled on the leg of a transtainer, a large piece of equipment used to load and unload shipping containers.
Two weeks ago, workers found a noose attached to a fence at the entrance of the same terminal, Muhammad said.
Workers said they are concerned because two of the incidents happened inside the terminal gates, signaling the culprit may have special access to the area.
“Our workforce is more than 70 percent African American,” Muhammad said. “Considering the history that black people have in America, this kind of thing is not good — not good.”
Oakland police said they were looking into the incidents.
Evan Sernoffsky is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: esernoffsky@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @EvanSernoffsky