When a Longshore Union organizer is shot down in one part of town on the same day that the local police storm a peaceful picket line at the Port of Oakland, union journalist Jackson Avery sets out to uncover the connections between the violent events.
...“Hell, Jackson,” the old salt rumbled from somewhere deep inside his bushy gray beard, wild gray streaked eyebrows jumping up and down to punctuate his words. “These damn kids on this picket line don’t have the foggiest notion ‘bout what’s coming down the pike at them.”
“Pete,” I placated him. “Sometimes the vigor of youth is better than the wisdom of ages.”
Pete eyed me skeptically, working the chaw of tobacco in his cheek. “Maybe. But ‘twould be nice ifa they had some god damn politics beside their own paycheck in mind.” He meditatively squirted a long stream onto the gravel edge of the macadam road leading into the dock gate. “Conviction, that’s what keeps a body out here six months, ten months at a time. Otherwise ya jist go getcha another job.”
“Not in this economy, Pete”. Nationally unemployment was in double figures, locally almost twice that. “No place to run.” I took a sip of spiked hot chocolate from the tin cup Pete had conjured out of the weathered cloak he’d had the foresight to lug to the picket line before the rain had started. “This is where we’re going to have to stop and fight.” I took another deep sip and let the brandy warm my soul, or what was left of it. “We get the people of Oakland to support us, once Global Pacific's ready to open this place back up, we’ll get our contract rights back.”
“If.” Pete shook his head, remaining skeptical. “This waterfront seen plenty a fights before, that’s for certain....”