First Ship to Arrive at New Longview Grain Terminalby Steve Brown
Capital Press, January 9, 2012
LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The the first grain ship is expected to arrive at the new EGT terminal in late January or early February, and labor groups say they are planning a protest.
Terminal owner EGT has been embroiled in a dispute with members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union over staffing of the new terminal. More than 130 ILWU members were arrested during protests last year.
The ship will be "escorted by armed United States Coast Guard, including the use of small vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility and that the facility itself will be protected by a full complement of local law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions," ILWU President Robert McEllrath wrote in a letter to members posted on the union's website.
"We expect the ILWU will respect the ongoing legal process, which includes an injunction prohibiting them from blocking any ingress or egress to the facility in Longview," EGT chief executive officer Larry Clarke said in a press release.
In the meantime, Cowlitz County prosecutors say they will dismiss misdemeanor charges against nine union members and supporters who were arrested during the protests. Two others were found not guilty in trials last month.
Second-degree criminal trespassing charges will be dismissed against six people arrested during a Sept. 7 protest. They will also drop charges against three others arrested on July 25.
The union argues that the EGT grain terminal should be required to hire ILWU longshoremen, but company officials insist they have no such obligation and have contracted with a different union. The dispute is in federal court.
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