UPDATE: Strike ended. Some details here.
In response to the strike that has shut down 10 of the 14 Los Angeles and Long Beach ports for 8 days and counting, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called for round-the-clock bargaining with the use of a federal mediator.
The strike, which started Tuesday, Nov. 27, is part of the over two-year-long labor dispute between the 800 member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit and the shipping management.
While small in numbers on their own, some 10,000 dock-working members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (who negotiate separate contracts) are refusing to cross the picket line, triggering national concern.
Members of the National Retail Federation recently alerted President Obama and members of Congress to the severe financial consequences the strike could have on the national economy. The
Continue reading Strike Closes Ports, Los Angeles in Panic
According to the New York Times, rooting out discrimination in union hall hiring in New York Harbor is nearly as hard as rooting out corruption. The longshoremen’s union has again defied government order last week, refusing to send a representative to a mandatory hearing and making the stunning announcement that the Waterfront Commission had no authority to demand that all hiring be done without discrimination. Put another way, the ILA is exerting the right to continue to discriminate at its own discretion.
The commission has been pushing for years for a more diverse workforce on the docks; union hiring halls are sending in a workforce that is 80% white and male and not at all reflective of the neighborhoods surrounding the docks. The
Continue reading NY Longshoremen Still Defiant About Diversity
Faced with the threat of massive Occupy and Longshoremen union protests, the U.S. Coast Guard has announced it will be escorting the first ship to be loaded at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview some time this month. The grain carrier, bound for China, will be escorted up the Columbia River and out to sea in the event protestors in small boats attempt to somehow disrupt the ship’s passage.
Since July, the ILWU has been holding high profile sometimes-violent protests at the new terminal claiming EGT’s lease agreement stipulates they can only use ILWU local 21 members. (EGT instead hired a Washington state sub-contractor that uses operating engineers from another union.) The ILWU has been fined
Continue reading Coast Guard Will Protect Ships From Union Violence in Longview
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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
Continue reading Rough Justice for Longshoremen
The NLRB filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against the Longshoremen for their assault on the Port of Longview that we reported on Sept. 9th. Rather than pay for physical damages to the facility, and for grain dumped on the tracks from rail cars, the board has demanded the union write a letter saying it will not block rail shipments at the facility. Ouch!
ILWU President Bob McEllrath was detained by police as longshore workers massed on railroad tracks to stop a shipment of grain to a non-ILWU terminal. Photo: Dawn DesBrisay.
Only a few days after Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa exhorted his followers to “take these son of a bitches out,” (referring to conservative politicians), the Longshoreman appeared to put legs to the rhetoric, only their target happened to be other union members!
On Thursday, hundreds of ILWU members invaded a new west coast grain terminal (in violation of a restraining order), pelting police officers with rocks and pepper spray, cutting brake lines, pushing a security vehicle into a ditch, and releasing about 10 tons of grain from rail hoppers onto the tracks. Ninteen members were arrested,
Continue reading Union Violence: Same Song, Different Verse
EGT Development was forced to indefinitely shut down its new grain terminal at the Port of Longview, WA on Friday due to escalating union violence. A spokesman for EGT said the facility will remain closed until the company can insure its employees will be safe. 100 protestors from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 blocked the gates to the terminal on Friday. According to sheriff’s deputies, unidentified protesters surrounded an EGT employee’s vehicle, threatened to throw hot coffee in his face and knocked his hand away when he attempted to photograph them. The father of the local’s president was also arrested on two counts of malicious mischief as he was caught by surveillance cameras breaking the antenna off a passing car and throwing
Continue reading Union on Union Violence Shuts Down Port Terminal