September 8, 2011

Update on the situation in Longview and elsewhere involving our allies in the Longshore and Warehouse union (ILWU)

We’re closing watching the struggle of our allies in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which is fighting back against a taxpayer-subsidized international conglomerate (EGT) at the Port of Longview and elsewhere.

The Washington State Labor Council, the Seattle Times and others report that violence erupted today as the ILWU stormed the grain terminal in Longview.

This came a day after ILWU supporters temporarily blocked rail shipments of grain through Vancouver and Longview.

All this against EGT, the joint Japanese-South Korean-US venture that is trying to undercut wages and which imported union workers from another jurisdiction to cross the ILWU picket lines. The Washington State Labor Council and others have condemned those actions.

Federation-represented Department of Agriculture grain inspectors are not crossing picket lines.

The Seattle Times reports that work at other ports, including Seattle, is at a standstill.

Meanwhile, the ILWU is appearing this afternoon before a federal district court judge in Tacoma over a petition filed by the National Labor Relations Board alleging, “ILWU Locals 4 and 21 had targeted EGT officials, workers and contractors with increasingly violent unfair labor practices,” according to the Seattle Times. Not mentioned is how an EGT contractor plowed through an ILWU picket line Aug. 29, striking and injuring two ILWU members.

There’s no question in this era of Wisconsin-style attacks on workers that the Federation joins with the Washington State Labor Council, the Oregon AFL-CIO and others in condemning the management actions to break the ILWU at Longview or any port along the West Coast. We must never forget it was the ILWU that 10 years ago stood with us in our first-ever strike. They stood with us and shut down the ports of Vancouver, Kalama and Tacoma on the first day of the walkout. That show of union solidarity kick-started the strike that then built up momentum that culminated in a successful settlement for Federation members. We must never forget that without the ILWU’s selfless actions in 2001, the Federation strike might have ended before it even started.

For more up-to-date information on the ILWU situation, check these links:

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