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Striking GG Ferry Workers, Occupy Activists Join In May Day Protests

LARKSPUR (KCBS) — Protesters gathered at the Larkspur Ferry terminal Tuesday morning as Golden Gate Ferry Service was shut down as expected over a ferry workers' strike coinciding with May Day and Occupy-related demonstrations.

Meanwhile, transit workers announced a new strike for May 10 which would involve bridge district bus service.

A large Teamsters semi truck was parked in the exit lanes of the Larkspur Ferry Terminal's parking lot, blasting music to keep the crowd of about 100 protesters energized.

Picketers had been out as early as 4:00 a.m., boosted by Golden Gate Bridge iron workers and steel inspectors. Longshoreman from both San Francisco and Oakland's Ports also joined, as did numerous other unions.

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According to the transit district, ferry service was scheduled to resume from Sausalito at 1:55 p.m. and from Larkspur at 2:15 p.m.

Transit district spokeswoman Mary Currie said a bargaining session was planned for Monday, three days before another group of transit workers plans to go on strike.

Alex Tonisson, of the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition, said Tuesday that Teamsters Local 665, which represents the transit district's bus operators, plans to strike on May 10.

Tonisson said there is a good chance that bus service will be cut that day and that the Teamsters weare expected to provide details on the walk-off.

Currie declined to comment on what preparations, if any, the transit district would make should transit workers strike again.

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The Teamsters is one of the 12 Golden Gate Bridge District's unions. "Many other unions in the coalition including IFPTE Local 21 have taken strike- sanction votes. There's a possibility that others might be going on strike in the near future," Tonisson said.

Ferry mechanic Todd Lyche said it's encouraging to see so many people supporting the workers.

"I don't want to do this. I wish everyone could just come in here and ride the ferry today and go to work like a normal day. It's not going to happen because they keep pushing us; it's time for us to push back a little bit."

In San Francisco, some 50 striking transit workers gathered outside the San Francisco Ferry Building Tuesday morning to picket on the Embarcadero sidewalk. Workers were also picketing at the Sausalito ferry terminal.

kayak protest
Kayaks next to San Francisco's Ferry Building carry banners during a May Day protest, May 1, 2012. (Patricia Decker/Bay City News)

Around 7:15 a.m., seven musicians arrived at the San Francisco Ferry Building to support the picketers, who were carrying signs that said "IBU-ILWU on strike against Golden Gate Bridge."

They have been chanting "IBU contract!" and "IBU on strike!"

About half an hour later, protesters in eight kayaks could be seen in the water near the ferry building. One had a sign reading "99 percent" while lofted a banner that said "Dignity."

The workers stopped picketing shortly before 8 a.m.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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