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  • ITVI.USA
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    74.080
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  • OTLT.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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American Shipper

Oakland dockworkers sue PMA, SSA Marine over ‘racial harassment’

Four African American longshoremen say that racist behavior at the SSA Marine terminal at the Port of Oakland intensified after the November 2016 election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.

   Four longshore workers are suing the Pacific Maritime Association and SSA Terminals over what they and their attorney say is racial harassment, failure to prevent racial discrimination and threats and intimidation in the workplace at the Port of Oakland.
   According to the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 1 in Alameda County Superior Court by San Francisco-based attorney Angela Alioto, her African-American clients, longshoremen John Hughes, Rickie Cox, Keith Hamilton and Devin Thompson – all of whom have worked on the docks between 13 and 26 years – experienced years of racially based harassment, including racial slurs, frequent racially offensive jokes and comments.
   They claim the behavior intensified after the November 2016 election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, and included such actions as three male Caucasians driving an SSA pickup truck through a port terminal while flying a Confederate flag the day after the election and two incidents this past May where hangmen’s nooses, which the suit also refers to as lynching ropes, were found at the terminal.
   The plaintiffs all say that they complained to SSA and the PMA, but that nothing was done to stop or prevent the harassment.
   “The display of multiple hangman’s nooses and of the Confederate flag, as well as the presence of offensive graffiti and racial epithets, in a workplace where there is a substantial number of African Americans was calculated to create a racially hostile work environment and did in fact do so,” the lawsuit states in part. “On numerous occasions, plaintiffs the defendants herein to rectify the harassing treatment described above. On each occasion, the petitions were ignored and/or refused.”
   The lawsuit says the plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages that include compensation for mental pain and anguish, emotional distress, statutory damages of $25,000 for each act found to violate the law; punitive damages and attorney fees.
   The PMA has thus far not issued a comment to the media regarding the litigation, but on Oct. 31, SSA Marine Vice President Bob Watters was quoted by the East Bay Times as saying the lawsuit’s claims are misleading and inaccurate and that that some alleged facts cited are actually disputed allegations.
   The Port of Oakland, however, is not named as a defendant in the case.
   A hearing in the case is scheduled for mid-January in Alameda County Superior Court.

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