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Vol. 75/No. 37      October 17, 2011

Wash. rally backs longshore
workers’ union battle
LONGVIEW, Wash.—Shouting “We are union!” some 700 unionists and supporters rallied here September 29 to support International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 in its fight against union busting at the EGT grain terminal.

EGT Development 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, under inferior conditions and without a contract.

The rally at Civic Circle drew participants from Seattle to Portland, Ore., including members of the ILWU and ILWU Ladies Auxiliary Local 14, as well as members of the Teamsters; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; United Food and Commercial Workers; Inland Boatmen’s Union; Painters union; and Industrial Workers of the World.

ILWU Local 21 officer Jason Lundquist chaired the program. He welcomed participants and introduced a short list of speakers, including Jeff Johnson, president of the state AFL-CIO. Leith Kahl, an ILWU member in Seattle, performed a folk ballad with banjo about the union fight.

Prior to the rally the city of Longview circulated a memo to local businesses warning that “an outside ‘anarchist’ group may be attending this rally” that is “known to cause vandalism to property,” the latest example of a violence-baiting and slander campaign against the union. Some businesses closed early.

During the one-hour rally a Coast Guard helicopter hovered overhead, its blades churning the air audibly.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma levied a $250,000 fine against the union September 30 for alleged damages caused at the EGT terminal and to Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail cars during union protests here September 7-8. The union has said it will appeal.
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