The small town of Longview on the southwestern coast of Washington, has become ground zero for both the labor and Occupy movements. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is engaged in a crucial battle with EGT, an international conglomerate of grain exporters. EGT is trying to operate the first grain terminal in 70 years without ILWU labor, attempting to break the power of the ILWU.
EGT is expected to send its first ship to the new terminal in January or early February to load grain bound for Asia using non-ILWU labor. Local 21 and Occupy Longview are calling on the Occupy movement and workers everywhere to resist this attack on the union by responding with a massive protest in Longview. This is a crucial action that workers, Occupy activists, and young people everywhere should help support.
EGT has built a $200 million state-of-the-art terminal, the first in the U.S. in 25 years, after being awarded public land and tax breaks. Now EGT wants to operate it on the cheap. The conglomerate sued the Port of Longview attempting to wiggle out of their legal contract that requires them to use ILWU labor. They then walked away from negotiations with the ILWU, hiring Operating Engineers Local 701 to scab on the ILWU, despite the engineers union being condemned by a whole slew of unions.
Local 21 has had jurisdiction over jobs at the Port of Longview for more than 70 years, and good ILWU jobs have been the essential lifeline that hard working families depend on. Workers have faced enormous obstacles in their fight against the EGT multinational corporation. Practically the entire establishment – the police, the courts, the media, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – have sided with the EGT against the ILWU. Workers and supporters have responded with bold actions aimed at disrupting the operations of the company. They have faced a barrage of police repression, with more than 70 members of Local 21, out of about 200 total in the local, arrested on spurious charges.
In spite of all this, too much is at stake for Local 21 to back down. Workers everywhere have a stake in this fight and must support the ILWU. If EGT gets away with violating its legal contract to operate this terminal with ILWU labor, which group of workers will be thrown under the bus next?
We urge everyone to support this struggle. Messages of support can be sent to: Longshore Local 21, Longview, WA. phone: 360.423.0950, fax: 360.423.5498, email: email@example.com.