Union in Grain Terminal Dispute
PORTLAND, Ore. - The union that's angry over being kept from working at a terminal at the Port of Longview wants a special election held to recall the Cowlitz County sheriff.
Last week the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 21 filed a lawsuit alleging police brutality against Sheriff Mark Nelson and Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.
The lawsuit alleges that police officers acted aggressively and brutally while arresting union members during protests.
Union members have attempted to block trains carrying grain from getting to a new terminal. EGT Development at the Port of Longview has hired workers from a Portland-based union to work at the terminal, but Local 21 says their members should be allowed to work there.
In the recall petition (pdf) filed Monday in Cowlitz County Court and with the Washington Department of Elections, the union says Nelson has violated his oath of office and people's civil rights. In a long list of specific accusations against Nelson, the union alleges he overreacted to the protests, discriminated against union members, failed to protect protesting members, harassed them, made false statements to the media and accusations against union members, and exaggerated the actions of protesters to justify his use of force against them.
According to the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, about 200 protesters were arrested over the summer and the county has spent $40,000 in overtime because of the protests.
Officials have accused protesters of trespassing, making death threats and damaging property.
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