PORT OF AZTLAN, April 27, 2007--The independent truckers of the Port of
Aztlan, working with the Industrial Workers of the World, made good on their
promise to shut down the Los Angeles port on May 1, in support of nationwide
migrants' rights protests scheduled for that day and the truckers' struggle to
organize. This morning the Los Angeles Port Authority declared the port would be closed for a May 1 "holiday," thereby avoiding potential litigation from shippers facing dockers' and
demurrage fees for goods left on the dock during the truckers' strike.
Ernesto Nevarez, spokesperson for the truckers, explained, "[The Port
Authority] knows the truckers are going to do it [strike] anyway. By
calling it a legal holiday, they avoid liability for the shutdown. We
forced them to recognize May Day."
The announcement culminated several months' worth of planning, according to
the IWW representative at the Harbor protest this morning, who added that he
hoped that "the Port Authority would make May Day a regular holiday, and
that the troqueros would remember it every year."
According to the IWW organizer, independent truckers at the independent
truckers of the Port of Aztlan lost their right to organize thirty years ago,
during the deregulation of the Reagan presidency. The IWW has joined with
trucking organizers to "assist with their organizing."
Several truckers promised to use their day off on May 1 to join hunger
strikers for immigrants' rights now in their fifth day of a fourteen-day strike
at the feet of La Virgen de Guadalupe mural outside La Placita
Church. Navarez recalled the independent truckers 2006 port shutdown in
conjunction with last year's May 1 immigration boycott and their commitment to
the May Day 2007 National Mobilization to Support Immigrant Workers.
"Migrants are just the victims of the global economy and politics, people
who want to survive. That's why we're out here." Nearly every
other truck honked for the half-dozen guys packing up their
signs calling for the May Day strike, while two police cars parked just down the
block watched the developments.