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Unions: We Don't Support
Occupy Port Shutdown

by Jim Redden
Portland Tribune, November 26, 2011

Longshoremen say they will not participate in planned Dec. 12 West Coast protest

(Roger Werth) Union dock workers have ratcheted up their protests of the EGT grain terminal this week, including blocking nonunion workers from handling grain at the Port of Longview Monday afternoon. A rift is growing among the Occupy movement and at least some of the labor unions supporting it.

The largest union representing workers at the Port of Portland is not backing a plan announced by Occupy protesters to shut down all West Coast ports on Monday, Dec. 12.

"We support the goals of the Occupy protesters but we are not supportive or participating in the shutdown of the West Coast ports," says Jeff Smith, president of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union Local 8. The union represents workers who load and unload ships at the port, and also move freight in and out of it.

A group called West Coast Port Shutdown claims to be associated with the Occupy movement and plans to close ports in Anchorage, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, Tacoma, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The group claims to have support from Occupy protesters in all those cities. The group also says it expects to have the support of the ILWU.

"The ILWU has a long history of standing up to the employing class and organizing solidarity actions, often despite the International officers' positions. This is a source of pride for our membership and the ILWU is admired by other unions for its courageous stands. Longshoremen, as always, need to link up now with other port workers, truckers, machinists, warehousemen and the Occupy movement in a fight against the port bosses for our jobs and our unions, regardless of what the union tops put out," according to the group's website.

Smith says the Portland union will not honor picket lines at the port, however.

"This is a third-party strike. We have to go to work," says Smith.

On Nov. 22, ILWU President Robert McEllarth issued a statement saying none of the locals had agreed to the shutdown.

"The ILWU shares the Occupy Wall Street movement's concerns about - corporate abuses and the future of the middle class, but we must be clear that - any actions organized by outside groups, including the proposed Dec. 12 shutdown of various terminals on the West Coast, have not been vetted by our union's democratically led process," according to the union's statement. "Only ILWU members or their elected representatives can authorize job actions on behalf of the union, and any decisions made by groups outside of the union's democratic process do not hold water, regardless of the intent."

Related Pages:
Court Denies Ruling in Labor Row by Mateusz Perkowski, Capital Press, 10/13/11
Judge Denies EGT Request for Summary Judgment, Sends Matter to Arbitrator by Erik Olson, The Daily News, 10/7/11
Longshoremen's Union Ordered to Pay $250,000 in Damages by Teresa Carson Reuters, 9/30/11
Judge Considering Fines Against Longshore Union by Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/30/11
Hundreds Gather to Show Union Support by Erik Olson & Tony Lystra, The Daily News, 9/29/11
Union in Grain Terminal Dispute Wants Sheriff Recalled by Staff, KATU, 9/27/11
Longshore Union Leader: "We're Putting our Bodies on the Line." by John Wojcik, People's World, 9/26/11
ILWU Files Suit Alleging Police Brutality in Grain Terminal Dispute by Tilde Herrera KATU, 9/22/11
Police Arrest More Longview Longshoremen Following Protest by Tim Haeck, KIRO FM, 9/21/11
Union Protesters Arrested at Port of Longview, Washington by Teresa Carson, Reuters, 9/21/11
Two Arrested in Wake of Port Protest by Steve Brown, Capital Press, 9/15/11
Judge Holds Wash. Union in Contempt for Raid at Grain Terminal by Associated Press, Washington Post, 9/15/11
Longshore Workers Call for Anti-Racist Unity in Their Ranks by Cheryl LaBash, Workers World, 9/12/11
Judge Warns Union to Halt Illegal Tactics by Mike Baker Capital Press, 9/10/11
Longview Port Protests Turn Violent by Staff, Portland Business Journal, 9/10/11
Port Dispute Worries Wheat Industry by Steve Brown Capital Press, 9/9/11
National Labor Relations Board Investigates Longshoremen Union by Staff Fox News, 9/9/11
Longshoremen Strike Shuts Down Seattle Port by Liz Jones KUOW, 9/8/11
Port of Portland Back to Business After Work Walkout by Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting, 9/8/11
Union Dispute, Turning Violent, Spreads and Idles Ports by Steven Greenhouse, New York Times, 9/8/11
Port Workers Spend Labor Day on Picket Line by Tim Wheeler People's World, 9/7/11
Federal Judge Issues Restraining Order Against ILWU Members by Erik Olsen, The Daily News, 9/1/11
NLRB Seeks Order to End 'Aggressive' Picketing at Port of Longview by Erik Olson, The Daily News, 8/30/11
Labor Dispute Slows Grain Export from Longview Port by Rob Manning Oregon Public Broadcasting, 8/29/11
Economic Boon: Fierce Battle Between Longshoremen and EGT by Erik Olson, The Daily News, 7/16/11

Jim Redden
Unions: We Don't Support Occupy Port Shutdown
Portland Tribune, November 26, 2011

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