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Port of Oakland shuts down after worker's death

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POSTED July 17, 2013 9:38 p.m.


OAKLAND  (AP) — The Port of Oakland was shut down Wednesday as Longshoremen went on a 24-hour shutdown following the death of a worker while on the job.

Tractor driver Joy Daniels was killed Tuesday afternoon while hauling a container at the Hanjin Shipping berth, said Mike Villeggiante, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10.

Daniels, 47, had a seizure while driving and hit an object, officials said. She was taken to a hospital and died about an hour later.

Workers agreed to stand down for 24 hours to honor Daniels at the fourth-busiest port in the United States as the union investigates the incident, Villeggiante said.

"When you lose a family member, you mourn," Villeggiante told the Bay Area News Group. "The other reason (for the work stoppage) is to give adequate time for an investigation to take place. It's not a strike of any kind. It's just a matter of trying to find out what happened, so we can make sure it doesn't happen again."

Port operations were scheduled to resume around 7 p.m. Wednesday, port spokesman Robert Bernardo said.

Meanwhile, dozens of trucks looking to load or unload containers spent most of Wednesday backed up for miles outside the port's three major depots, many surprised by the sudden work stoppage.

"I came in from Tracy last night so I figured I'd beat the line by coming here and sleeping in line," Victor Ramires, 22, of Modesto, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "But when I woke up, I saw they weren't letting anyone in, even though they usually do at 6, 6:10 a.m., I got out and asked the union workers and one of them told me what happened.

"I respect what they do when someone dies, but it also affects us a lot," Ramires said. "When we don't have something hooked on our trucks, we lose money."

Ed Henderson, the business agent for Local 10, said the union's action to stand down after a worker's death while on the job is part of a longstanding tradition dating back to when the union was formed in 1934.


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