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Rough Justice for Longshoremen

note baseball bat

A U.S. District judge has found a Washington state ILWU local in contempt of court for defying a restraining order against further destruction to the Longview grain terminal at the Port of Tacoma. The union was fined $250,000 with the money to be divided between the terminal owner, local law enforcement, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company and the NLRB. The union called the damage assessment “rough justice” and plans to appeal.

Since the restraining order was issued, several longshoremen were arrested for blocking a train bound for the facility on September 7, and more than 500 port workers stormed the terminal the following day, damaging rail cars and other property. The grain terminal is unionized, just not by ILWU, which claims “exclusive representational rights” to the port.

Meanwhile, because they haven’t blown enough dues money on lawyers this week, the union filed retaliatory civil rights charges against law enforcement officers, the city of Longview and the county, claiming “rough treatment” of union supporters. And after over 200 arrests since July, the union’s first new order of business will be the recall of the sheriff of Cowlitz County.

One way to help recoup those lost dues dollars? Burlington Northern Santa Fe says the FBI is involved in an investigation of twelve recently discovered instances of tampering with train tracks. BNSF has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

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