ILWU volunteers join Oakland District 5 clean-up

Community service: Local 10 volunteers joined with recycling workers who belong to Local 6 to support a massive community clean-up effort in Oakland on May 14. Chris Christensen, President of the Bay Area Longshoremen’s Memorial Association was one of those who joined the effort and said the project was coordinated by the ILWU’s Northern California District Council and part of the union’s tradition of community service.

Community service: Local 10 volunteers joined with recycling workers who belong to Local 6 to support a massive community clean-up effort in Oakland on May 14. Chris Christensen, President of the Bay Area Longshoremen’s Memorial Association was one of those who joined the effort and said the project was coordinated
by the ILWU’s Northern California District Council and part of the union’s tradition of community service.

An estimated 100 ILWU volunteers provided most of the labor and resources for a successful community clean-up effort in partnership with Oakland District 5 Councilmembers Noel Gallo on Saturday, May 14. The impressive turnout topped results from the previous clean-up efforts held last October.

“ILWU volunteers are such a welcome and important part of our community,” said City Councilmember Noel Gallo who represents a working-class district in East Oakland where illegal dumping has left residents with more than their share of discarded waste.

In addition to contributing their labor, the ILWU contributed a total of 9 pickup trucks that were used to haul waste to a city collection site.  The ILWU also contributed funds to help pay for food, drinks and t-shirts, courtesy of Locals 6, 10, 34, 91 and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU).

A team 18 volunteers from Local 10 were assigned to clean-up Oakland’s Animal Services facility that had become overgrown with weeds, foliage and refuse.

Another group of volunteers from Local 6 and 10 went to the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park where they painted a small bridge and cleaned-up a creek that was clogged with illegally-dumped waste.

“I came with my family because all of us wanted to contribute,” said Maria Vilma Reyes, a member of Local 6 who works at Recycle America/Waste Management.

Yet another team spread out on city streets to collect piles of old mattresses, abandoned furniture and waste of all kinds from sidewalks, street corners, and vacant lots.

A crew of 36 divided into 12 “pick-up” teams that loaded the refuse into their trucks and hauled to the collection center.

As in previous efforts, recycling workers who belong to Local 6 have been a key part of the effort.  A big turnout from members employed by Alameda County Industries joined with other recyclers who work for Waste Management, California Waste Solutions and BLT in Fremont.

The City was able to provide a few staff to help with the effort but far less than the number needed by residents to stay ahead of the illegal dumping.  In an ideal world, the City of Oakland would be paying crews of municipal workers to get the job done, but Councilmember Gallo says that the City’s budget hasn’t allowed for enough staffing.

“This is a stop-gap measure until we can find a better solution that provides enough funding for all sorts of urgently-needed city services, including better enforcement and collection of illegal dumping in working-class neighborhoods,” said Gallo, who spends most of his weekends helping with clean-up drives.  “Until we win that fight, the ILWU and other community groups are helping residents in a direct way and winning some well-deserved appreciation from all of us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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