OAKLAND -- Hundreds of trucks that tried to enter the Port of Oakland on Wednesday were turned away while longshoremen stood down to honor a fellow worker who died there Tuesday, but not everyone was in favor of the sympathetic protest.
Joy Leona Daniels, 45, suffered an unknown medical emergency while operating equipment about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at Hanjin Shipping, Berth 55 on Middle Harbor Road, a union official said.
Daniels was taken to a hospital, where she died at 3:57 p.m., officials said. A spokeswoman at the Alameda County Coroner's office declined to release her cause of death Wednesday, saying it would need to come from her doctor. The death is not considered suspicious but the circumstances of her death are still being investigated.
After the death, union workers ceased operations Tuesday night and part of Wednesday. Union president Mike Villeggiante said the longshoremen would stand down for 24 hours to honor Daniels, a tractor driver, and that work would resume at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"When you lose a family member, you mourn," Villeggiante said. "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."
Not everyone was pleased, including trucker Jay Master, who works for Three Rivers Trucking.
"Why do we have to suffer when it's not a work-related death?" he said.
Centennial Trucking driver Mike Fortner said he drove from Colorado and was slated to be in Salinas on Wednesday but wasn't able to get everything unloaded and his truck prepared to move onto the next stop.
"If I'm not rolling, I'm not making money. I know how it is to lose somebody but this is bad business," he said.
Those who knew Daniels remembered her as a hard worker always willing to show new employees the ropes.
"Joy was a very positive, joyful person and contributed a great deal to our organization and to other nonprofits," Villeggiante said. "You name it, she volunteered to help out."
Her family could not be reached for comment.
Ed Henderson, the business agent for the Local 10, the San Francisco/Oakland chapter of the International Longshore and Workers Union, said the union's action is in keeping with a tradition that dates back to 1934, when the union was first formed.
"It's a long-standing, proud tradition," Henderson said, adding that the union ceases work "when a worker dies while in the course of doing the job. We do it out of solidarity for the worker."
A spokesman for the Port of Oakland said the closure causes a big impact to the truck operators, because they can't deliver their goods.
"The merchants don't receive their goods, so there is a sizable impact,'' said Port of Oakland spokesman Robert Bernardo. "But we do sympathize with this, and we're always saddened when a worker dies on the job."
Staff writer Kristin J. Bender contributed to this report.