ILWU Local 21 is engaged in a fight against union busting by EGT Development. EGT has refused to hire ILWU workers in violation of an agreement between the union and the Port of Longview. The company has instead hired members of Operating Engineers Local 701 through a subcontractor.
During the September 21 protest, private cops from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad attacked demonstrators without warning, Karin Hogg, vice president of the Ladies Auxiliary, told rally participants. They targeted several of the women who were sitting on the railroad tracks. They kneed the women in their backs, yanked their arms behind them, handcuffed them and turned them over to Longview police and Cowlitz County sheriffs department deputies who stood by.
During the arrests, cops shoved Jennifer Wood face down into the gravel and Kahne Witham was dragged handcuffed across the tracks, the two protesters told the Militant. Phoebe Wiest told the Daily News that she suffered a torn rotator cuff after the railroad cops wrenched her arm behind her.
Two ILWU Local 21 members, Byron Jacobs and Kelly Muller, rushed to Wiests aid as she shouted in pain, Wood and Witham explained. Cops wrestled them to the ground, handcuffed and then pepper sprayed them. The two unionists were later charged with assaulting the cops. Local 21 President Dan Coffman was also arrested during the protest.
My grandfather was an ILWU member and he would be proud to see us protesting here today, said Wood. We are teaching our kids a life lesson. No one has the right to do what cops did to usmen or women. An ILWU community support rally has been called for September 29.
The ILWU had filed a lawsuit against Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha and Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson and their agencies for police brutality and harassment.
A federal judge in Tacoma ruled September 15 that the ILWU is in contempt of court for having violated a September 1 restraining order prohibiting the union from any acts that impede EGT business, including protests to try to block grain trains.
Judge Ronald Leighton also said he would fine the union based on the EGT companys estimate of damages for alleged vandalism of company property by unionists at a September 8 protest.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Union of Australia offered support to the Longview ILWU local. A solidarity protest of Australian dockworkers took place September 21 at the Townsville Port where a ship owned by EGTs parent company, STX Pan Ocean, was docked.
Solidarity gives boost to sugar workers fight
1,300 fight 2-month lockout in Midwest
Steelworkers in Pa. rally against Armstrongs union-busting drive
Workers at Verizon pay for concessions on safety
UK agency workers strike banana plant, win support
Two workers die in North Dakota oil fields amid bosses profit drive
Cops defend class interests of bosses
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home