Occupy and ILWU

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klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Joined: 5-07-09
Jan 24 2012 02:25

thanks all, especially 888 for sharing

fnbrill's picture
Joined: 13-01-07
Jan 24 2012 05:10

A couple of brief observations:

1) You need to understand the entire context of EGT issue. The ILWU is unusual in that it has a unified contract from the Mexico border to the Alaskan ports with a unified representative of the shipping companies (the PMA). There are no individual contracts for employers or for specific ports. This is why if EGT was successful it would undermine the ILWU from San Diego to Anchorage.

2) The problem with this sort of contract is that a Local under attack - such as the small Longview Local 21 - cannot go it alone and decide their own tactics because it effects all the other ILWU Locals and members. This alone would force a certain "conservatism" (don't like this but lack of a better term) and explains some of the behaviors of the ILWU "bureaucracy" (a term I think is being thrown around a bit too much here).

3) There exists resentments in the Northwest ILWU locals towards the Oakland local over a tendency of Oakland to ram things through the union, especially actions, that need more time, or are not considered issues. I'm not taking sides on these issues and the internal conflict that exists. But Jack Heyman (one of the key speakers at the disrupted Seattle meeting) is seen as the ILWU in Oakland who most personifies this tendency. I assume this is why the Local ILWUs waited an hour and a half to disrupt his speech specifically.

4) There was also a disruption of a similar event in Portland the night before. I know little else.

5) The "Open Letter" posted on the Black Orchard site is written by a notorious loose cannon who has been run out of most of the IWW branches on the west coast. He destroyed allot of good organizing here. There may or may not be some accuracies in what he says, but I would not trust any of it without multiple verifications. Folks can PM me if interested in details.

Personally, I'm just reporting my understandings/observations. I've not been able to participate. I know folks on both sides of the issue.

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 24 2012 14:11

Thanks West Coasters for you thoughts and observations. It helps to give some clear (and confirm) some of the contours of the dynamics.

Sort of an aside, geeks like me who like to know the industrial history of places, here's the offical history of the Port of Longview: http://www.portoflongview.com/AboutThePort/History.aspx It seems like it has been a port which was on the decline. From a read of things, part of the grain terminal opening is in line with an upturn in jobs and revitalization of the port itself.

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 26 2012 00:08

Form Portland Occupied:

Victory? Inching toward possible agreement between ILWU & EGT

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 26 2012 13:15
ILWU and EGT still negotiating

Reprinted from TDN.com

EGT labor settlement postpones NLRB hearing on illegal picketing
Negotiators are staying mum on how many jobs at the Port of Longview's EGT grain terminal will be filled by union longshoremen, but a tentative settlement has already compelled the longshore union and EGT to push back a key labor hearing at the heart of the dispute.

The National Labor Relations Board postponed a hearing scheduled for Monday on whether the International Longshore and Warehouse Union engaged in illegal picketing during last summer's protests, according to Frank Randolph, Port of Longview attorney.

The first day of the hearing, expected to last at least a month, has been rescheduled for Feb. 6. According to the labor board, the Pacific Maritime Association also is listed as a party because of the lost time incurred by shippers due to longshore walkouts in Longview, Seattle and Tacoma in September in protest of EGT's hiring policies.

Attorneys for EGT, the ILWU and the Port of Longview are discussing ways to modify the company's lease and the port's working agreement with the ILWU to create the legal framework to get union workers in the terminal, Randolph said Tuesday, adding that the parties are also trying to settle a federal lawsuit filed a year ago over the staffing of the terminal.

"It sounded like everyone was excited to move forward," said Randolph, who is not directly involved in the discussions.

Meanwhile, negotiators for the company and the union are expected to hammer out the final details of the tentative agreement, which was announced Monday by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. The final version must then be ratified by a vote of all ILWU members on the West Coast. Both sides have declined to comment on contract details before a final agreement has been reached.
The original talks broke down almost exactly one year ago, with both sides later saying they had conducted almost no real bargaining.

A few key disagreements emerged last January that will need to be resolved:
• EGT's central control room: Company officials had insisted that their own management staff run what they term a state-of-art control room, which monitors the terminal's grain unloading systems, conveyor belts, the 140-foot tall silos and other operations. ILWU officials demanded that at least one longshoreman staff the control room to ensure the safety of workers in the terminal, citing the union's 80-year history working in West Coast grain terminals.

• Overtime pay: ILWU officials objected to an EGT proposal to structure 12-hour shifts over two weeks without paying overtime to workers on the job for more than eight hours a day. A longshore union rule requires overtime pay whenever an employee exceeds eight hours on a shift. Company officials said they wanted to operate 12-hour shifts to run the terminal as efficiently as possible.

• Number of shift jobs: According to the union, EGT last year offered the ILWU seven jobs per shift for two, 12-hour shifts, which the union said was insufficient without an agreement to work in the control room. The two parties also have yet to announce whether contractor General Construction would still have unionized operating engineers working in the terminal.

The ILWU and EGT had been locked in a protracted dispute over jobs at the terminal, which hit an abrupt cease fire Monday with Gregoire's announcement. The union has maintained that its contract with the Port of Longview requires EGT to hire Longview-based Local 21 longshore labor on the 35-acre site the company leases from the port.

EGT had disagreed and instead retained General Construction, which employed members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, based in Gladstone, Ore., for the 25 to 35 jobs at the terminal.

Port of Longview Commissioner Lou Johnson, a marine clerk and ILWU member, said Tuesday he thinks an agreement will help soothe tensions between the port and longshoremen.

"It's going to start a healing process. It's probably not going to be instantaneous. As far as Local 21 and the port goes, that process has already started," he said.

Read more: http://m.tdn.com/news/local/egt-labor-settlement-postpones-nlrb-hearing-on-illegal-picketing/article_ce58bac6-4700-11e1-8a86-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1kVDy3jxN

EdmontonWobbly's picture
Joined: 25-03-06
Jan 26 2012 17:25

I'm curious whether folks think that if it wasn't for the Longview Local "going it alone" and the intervention by Occupy whether or not they would have had the victory over the EGT Terminal that is now being claimed? I'm not sure, this one does stand out as a pretty major concession. That alone points to something that may indicate that comprehensive contracts managed under a centralised leadership isn't necessarily delivering what it used to.

Hieronymous's picture
Joined: 27-07-07
Jan 26 2012 18:40

Yesterday I talked with someone who'd been in frequent communication with workers in Longview (he's helping organize the caravan from the Bay Area). He said that the night before last (on Tuesday), people in Longview were celebrating what they perceived as a victory.

He also confirmed that EGT had broken the contract with General Construction Co., the subcontractor who hired the workers from the Operating Engineers Local 701. Which obviously opens the door for ILWU resuming working the shop.

But no concrete details have been released yet. So I'm not so sure it really is a victory, especially with how pleased leaders on all sides (the state, EGT and ILWU International) seem about the tentative agreement to negotiate again.

I really hope Fnbrill will post something, because he's got a much deeper understanding of how the master contract for all 29 West Coast ports works. From talking to him, he has me convinced that legally and contractually there is "no going it alone," unless Local 21 breaks with the ILWU (which they never would do).

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 26 2012 20:12

Yes, I'd be interested in a more ear to the rail opinion as well. But what I can tell from folIowing I would suspect there were several factors involved. Some could be broken down:

1. General militancy, both of the workers and supporters.
Coastwide mobilization, including Occupy and workers, unions,
community folks.

2. A supportive general union membershiip and leadership.

3. Concern that the fight would escalate not only with the longshore workers,
but the Coast Guard, the longshore workers and members of the Master, Mates
Piolets union, the folks who take control of pioleting and navigating the big ships into harbor.

4.Political and other stuff "behind the scenes."
Comment: Also, the EG Terminal is a BIG DEAL for the Port of Longview. The first grain terminal in decades, fully modernized and so forth. So there must of been lots of pressure

All that said, note that there's still no agreement on crewing. And the major NLRB case with fines, etc. is still pending.

In the fiinal analysis, it looks like a big defensive win for Local 21 and the Coastwide Grain Agreement which the ILWU and its Grain Locals are parties to. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So we'll still need to see the results.

Edmonton Wobbly....what I think -think-it means is that aggressive struggle, with solid outside the ranks of the Local and the union support helped tremendously in this defensive struggle. And, no doubt in my mind, the fact that Occupy and others were willing to engage in
shutting down Oakand weighed on lots of minds.

Hieronymous's picture
Joined: 27-07-07
Jan 26 2012 22:10
syndicalist wrote:
the fact that Occupy and others were willing to engage in
shutting down Oakland weighed on lots of minds.

I think they were more afraid of wildcats at those Puget Sound and Columbia River ports more than "community pickets" and arbitrators' decisions in Oakland -- or anywhere else. But that's my opinion after seeing that the port authorities in Oakland themselves canceled the evening and 3:00 a.m. shifts after the demo on December 12, sending those longshore workers home without pay -- which amounts to a de facto lockout.

Which management probably doesn't mind doing since port traffic on the West Coast is down 4.1% at Oakland (-13.8% at Long Beach and -0.8% at Los Angeles). The 10-day lockout in 2002 was almost exactly a year after the September 11 attacks and port traffic and commerce were at extreme lows, so the management-invoked stoppage allowed inventory backlogs to clear. And remember Bush invoked Taft-Hartley to force the bosses to end the lockout.

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 26 2012 23:17
Hieronymous wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
the fact that Occupy and others were willing to engage in
shutting down Oakland weighed on lots of minds.

I think they were more afraid of wildcats at those Puget Sound and Columbia River ports more than "community pickets" and arbitrators' decisions in Oakland -- or anywhere else. But that's my opinion after seeing that the port authorities in Oakland themselves canceled the evening and 3:00 a.m. shifts after the demo on December 12, sending those longshore workers home without pay -- which amounts to a de facto lockout.

Which management probably doesn't mind doing since port traffic on the West Coast is down 4.1% at Oakland (-13.8% at Long Beach and -0.8% at Los Angeles). The 10-day lockout in 2002 was almost exactly a year after the September 11 attacks and port traffic and commerce were at extreme lows, so the management-invoked stoppage allowed inventory backlogs to clear. And remember Bush invoked Taft-Hartley to force the bosses to end the lockout.

You may very well be right. I'm just speculating and reading between some of the lines.

I suspect there's a whole bunch of cumulative, and parallel things, thrown into the mix.
But I would suspect that having several thousand people coming to town. many dedicated to direct action, prolly didn't hurt the Longview workers cause. Ultimately it was and will alsways be the workers determination and fully bodied strength that the osses measure and
test. But solidarity ain't such a bad thing either.

Also, maybe this isn't the fight the other Grain bosses didn't want to have....or to let ECGT test the waters. Again, hard for me to say.

Hieronymous's picture
Joined: 27-07-07
Jan 26 2012 23:20

I think one of the greatest fears of the bosses was a bunch of crazy anarchos and commies coming to Longview to fuck shit up. Here, I think we agree.

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 27 2012 00:37
Hieronymous wrote:
I think one of the greatest fears of the bosses was a bunch of crazy anarchos and commies coming to Longview to fuck shit up. Here, I think we agree.

No doubt, the fear iof direct action is prolly a lot of this. But, I suspect, there are other factors.
I was just trying to figure out all of the other factors involved, not putting forth a political perspective.

Yeah, nice to agree with people, you know -:)

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 27 2012 01:15

From the SF-based Trot. group "The Organizer".

In a message dated 1/25/2012 2:46:23 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, theorganizer@earthlink.net writes:
January 25, 2012

Dear Readers and Supporters of The Organizer newspaper,

We all learned Monday afternoon (January 23) of a "tentative agreement" reached in the bitter struggle between the 225-member ILWU Local 21 and the EGT grain corporation in Longview, Washington. This tentative agreement was announced just days before a scab grain cargo ship was slated to arrive into the port of Longview and that ILWU Local 21 supporters nationwide were readying to mobilize in large numbers to prevent EGT from loading grain from the new terminal in that port.

The announcement of this tentative agreement was made in a press release issued by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. The governor's press release quoted both EGT CEO Larry Clarke and ILWU President Bob McEllrath in support of the tentative agreement and optimistic about the fact that a final settlement would soon be reached. The governor presented the agreement as a "win-win" for both labor and management and hailed the "compromises" that both the ILWU and EGT made to reach a tentative settlement.

But no agreement that is reached between the ILWU leadership and EGT management is final until the members of ILWU Local 21 vote for it. On Tuesday afternoon (January 24), a number of postings were sent out over the internet indicating that ILWU 21 members had already voted on the contract, but this turned out to be an unfounded rumor. At this writing, there has been no contract vote by Local 21 members.

So far all that has been reported in the press is that "pending legal issues" have been agreed to tentatively. Nothing has been reported about the substantive issues in the agreement or about the "certain conditions" that have yet to be agreed on.

According to Occupy activist Michael Munk, "Rumor last week was that a 'small number' of ILWU local 21 members will be allowed to work in the new terminal but, presumably, not in all the 30 or so jobs EGT designated to scabbing Oregon Operating Engineers Local 701."

If this rumor were confirmed, this would not be a win for the longshore workers by any stretch of the imagination. Let us recall what prompted the strike and lockout, now in its seventh month. This is what the Longview Central Labor Council wrote recently in its Call to Action for labor caravans to Longview to shut down a scab grain cargo ship:

"EGT is attempting to break the ILWU. EGT is operating on public port property where the ILWU have worked for decades. They are in violation of their lease agreement, which states that the ILWU is to be the workforce on port property. Longshoremen have done work in port grain elevators before the ILWU was formed [in the 1930s]. If EGT succeeds, they will have essentially broken the ILWU.

"First, they will set a precedent that work on public port docks is no longer automatically Longshore Jurisdiction. Then within less than a year, when the northwest grain handlers agreement is set to be negotiated, all the other grain elevators will seek to either go non-ILWU or will seek to match the eroded standard EGT creates. Shortly thereafter in 2014, the ILWU will negotiate its master contract with the Pacific Maritime Association. If they lose, you can bet the PMA will take notice and hit hard.

"Most importantly to note is that grain accounts for 30% of the ILWU health and welfare package. If you lose a third of your bargaining power and your traditional jurisdiction on port property, what are you left with? Either no ILWU, or a union that would resemble nothing like what it once was. There would be little or no collective power up and down the west coast, and no way to fight for social justice or defend the working class, just as the ILWU has done for so long, in its entrenched and strategic position at the gates of international commerce."

ILWU Local 21 has been fighting for ALL jobs on the waterfront to be ILWU jobs. To allow any scab jobs to remain would be to gut longshore jurisdiction.

Other rumors concerning the proposed settlement, however, indicate that ALL scabs will be terminated and ALL jobs will be under ILWU jurisdiction. This information prompted Occupy Longview organizer Paul Nipper to write that, "This temporary agreement is a step towards meeting the needs of the Longview community and respecting the jurisdiction of the Longshore union." Occupy Oakland organizer Barucha Peller called it "a victory for the workers, for social movements, and for the 99%."

This may well be true, though one of the many rumors circulating on the internet claims that the agreement to remove all scab workers would come in exchange for a takeaway in terms of working hours and conditions. According to this unconfirmed report, workers would be required to work 12-hour shifts instead of the 8-hour shifts (with overtime pay) in the current contract.

Again, these are all rumors. There is no reliable information anywhere concerning the terms of the tentative agreement.

So Where Do Things Stand with the Labor Caravans to Longview?

From reports and press releases issued January 23 and 24 by the Occupy solidarity activists in Portland and Longview, the caravans have NOT been called off, but they have been put on hold, awaiting the results of the vote by the ILWU Local 21 members. The caravan organizers insist that all plans to mobilize to Longview should continue, as there is a possibility that the ILWU Local 21 members could reject the contract, in which case it would be necessary to come to their aid with a huge rally and action in Longview.

Is it likely that the ILWU 21 members will vote down a tentative agreement?

At this point, it is impossible to answer this question. If the terms of the agreement are overall favorable to the Longview workers, there can be little doubt that the contract will be approved. This would represent a victory -- though possibly only a partial victory -- in this struggle.

But if the terms of the agreement are less than favorable to the ILWU members, we should keep in mind a number of things that will weigh heavily in the minds of the Local 21 workers as they sit down to vote on the tentative agreement:

* The ILWU Local 21 struggle has been largely isolated and marginalized by the labor movement; it has received no support from the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has claimed, shamefully, that this is a "jurisdictional dispute between two union locals" -- that is, between ILWU Local 21 and Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701, an AFL-CIO affiliate currently crossing ILWU pickets to work the EGT terminal.

Trumka had the gall to make this claim despite the fact that the ILWU leadership and the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board have strongly condemned the actions of IUOE Local 701 as "scab labor."

[For more information about the stance taken by Trumka and the AFL-CIO go to an excellent article by Salem, Oregon, freelance writer Ben Schreiner titled, "Obama Set to Use Military Intervention Against Longshoremen: Which Side is Trumka On?" at http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/01/obama-set-to-use-military-intervention-against-longshoremen/ .]

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 27 2012 08:00

That article was actually quite good.

Black Badger
Joined: 21-03-07
Jan 27 2012 14:21

A broken clock tells the right time twice a day...

EdmontonWobbly's picture
Joined: 25-03-06
Jan 27 2012 16:18

I just want to open this post by saying that I have A LOT of respect for Fn Brill and that is partly why I want to explore this issue a bit more. See I have some experience with large scale comprehensive contracts, in fact the more I read about the ILWU the more it looks like the same sort of agreement we have going on at the post office in Canada.

We have thousands of workplaces that consist of about 45,000 workers that negotiate one contract for all of these workers. I also remember that when forced overtime got completely out of hand (50+ hours a week for months on end) and we started organising on the floor against this the accusation that we were threatening the entire labour relations framework was levelled against us because we were agitating for something that was explicitly stated in the CBA that the employer was allowed to do.

I would want to see in specifics how Longview "going it alone" in this case actually threatened anything. We were told we were anti democratic because the union officers at the top were supposed to handle the issue and our action undermined their legitimacy before the labour board. We were told that we threatened the unions existence because it opened the door to the boss bargaining directly with the workforce, even though we made it clear the demands were not negotiable and build no obviously leadership with which anyone could bargain.

Also, the leadership in this case in the ILWU was following the same strategy before things really heated up in Longview and they were spinning their tires. They were doing the same thing before Occupy on the west coast really got involved and they were spinning their tires. I don't see it as a coincidence that this agreement was reached just before that ship full of grain came in and it looks more and more like the leadership may have sold them out.

I think the biggest problem is actually that the ethic of acting independently of the union leadership was not more widespread in the ranks of the ILWU and I think this speaks to how little we know about organising in unionised jobs. These are logistical concerns not big picture concerns with the role of the union, near as I can tell the ILWU as an institution played a pretty negative role, Occupy played a pretty positive- if not clumsy- role in this struggle. A comprehensive wall to wall contract is only useful if it marks gains, as soon as it is turned on you and used to mark your concessions you are hooped. Saying Occupy is a new labour movement is way overblown but it does show what kind of a new labour movement is possible and what it could be based on.

EdmontonWobbly's picture
Joined: 25-03-06
Jan 27 2012 16:22

Oh one other thing about the credibility of certain speakers etc. I completely believe what is being said, from my experience wildcats in most blue collar, male dominated industries are started by crazies. The most reliable, intelligent and capable militants are almost always the second group of people out of the gates. That is how it is at the Post Office up here and in the oil patch too. That doesn't mean that in this instance and on this issue they aren't right, often having the benefit of sanity and a good analysis makes us cautious but part of a large scale movement is that it has a lot of moving parts and organising means you work with the dynamic in a workplace so that you can get everyone using their individual qualities to maximise the outcome for the group.

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 27 2012 17:07

I'll drop off the conversation here by recalling the fight of Local P-9 Hormel workers and contrasting it with the Longview fight

The key difference here is that in Longview there was agreement at all levels of the union not to retreat on key elements of coastwide agreement. In Hormel, the union itself was leading a "strategic retreat" throughout the industry. So, for the purposes of trying to understand the elements at play -- not to say we may be in agreement with aspect or methods or perspectives of the varying levels --- this fight may very well be different from others in that sense.

Those of us who have worked under master contracts, as I did in textile, know that breaking the mold is tough. That you will have weak shops and you will have strong shops....that being the advanced guard will take you only so far. But the stronger shops responsibility is to continously reach out to the weakers shops, build the networks needed to try and engage and struggle.

A question, not the question, but a question on centrealized bargaining is the equalization of working conditions, pay, etc. The creation of a generalized standard, if you wish. A prevention against "whipsawing" (one workshop playing itself off another to keep work, etc. there). Busting that sort of industry-wide agreement allows for the freedom to wage a struggle that may be better for some and not for others. It also allows for whipsawing and downard conditons in areas where membership control and struggle are weak. I don't profess to have an answer to this, honestly. As I think centralized bargaining/centralized "conflict" resolution, etc. has serious problems from an anarchist perspective. Yet without a strong and unified movement from below, to maintain and advance consitions and so forth, the possibilities for downward spiral in weak ares remain.

In closing, I think we live in an interesting time, were the "point of production" (using a metaphore) questions loom much larger than in recent times. Where The possibilities for radical workerist ideas and organizing are much more on the family dinner table --- and not the snack tables of isolated, yet important fights --- then have been since the low periods (and deindustrialization period) of the late 1970s-1990s.

I'll drop off at this point from the discussion as I am not on the West Coast or
directly involved in todays struggles.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 28 2012 12:54

More details on the agreement here:

but from an outside perspective it's difficult to tell who did best here. I mean workers have achieved significant concessions, that much is clear, but how much they have conceded to the bosses is unclear

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 28 2012 15:03

"• The ILWU must request all outside groups, including other labor unions and the Occupy movement, to refrain from picketing at EGT. The Occupy movement and Cowlitz Wahkiakum Central Labor Council had called for mass pickets of the first incoming ship to load grain at the EGT terminal, which is expected within the next few weeks. The union is allowed to resume its picket if collective bargaining talks break down."

It will be interesting to see if negotiations breakdown after the grain ship has been loaded and steamed out of port.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 29 2012 12:07

Yeah, that seems like giving away your trump card. Clearly the line should be that an agreement is reached before the ship is unloaded or the pickets go ahead.

syndicalistcat's picture
Joined: 2-11-06
Jan 29 2012 20:41

Apparently part of the deal is that the Operating Engineers scabs will be dumped. Hiring will be thru the ILWU hiring hall. Members of ILWU local 21 reportedly approved the settlement unanimously. But there are all the criminal charges, fines against the union etc. Not sure yet how that will all play out.


fnbrill's picture
Joined: 13-01-07
Jan 30 2012 04:35

EdWob: I really don't have allot to say on best strategies and am all ears vis your experiences. I haven't been involved in those sorts of struggles.

JOMO's picture
Joined: 5-06-11
Jan 31 2012 01:38

This is Black Orchid Collective's response. We look forward to engaging in discussion and clearing up misrepresentations from the ISO piece.


Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 31 2012 02:02

I'm printing it out to read. I like the title though -:)

Joined: 15-04-06
Jan 31 2012 04:33

The Black Orchid article (printed in full, sans graphics) has been bumped to: http://libcom.org/library/longview-occupy-beyond-rank-file-89-unite#new

Hieronymous's picture
Joined: 27-07-07
Feb 11 2012 06:17

ILWU members finalize port grain terminal contract with EGT

By Erik Olson / The Daily News | Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 6:00 pm |

Union dock workers voted Thursday night to approve a five-year contract to work inside the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview, union and company officials announced Friday in a joint release.

The two sides did not release details of the collective bargaining agreement, the final piece required to move past the angriest labor dispute in more than 30 years. The agreement cover both production and maintenance work and creates a select pool of ILWU employees to work as needed at the facililty handling grain from ships, barges and trains, according to the joint release.

"Ever since the ILWU started loading this first ship, a lot of positive conversations have started taking place around town. People are happy to see we can all move forward now and do what we're here to do, which is work hard and support our community," Dan Coffman, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Longview-based Local 21, said in a written statement.

Added ILWU International President Robert McEllrath, "This agreement between EGT and the ILWU was crafted with the goals of safety, productivity, good jobs for the community, and stability for the grain industry in mind."

On Tuesday, ILWU workers docked the first ship to arrive at the EGT terminal. Four employees tied the ship up on the dock, and seven more were working inside the terminal. EGT was loading 57,000 tons of Washington spring wheat for shipment to South Korea.

About 25 workers are working at the terminal in 12-hour shifts, according to union and company sources.

"The five-year agreement is unique on the West Coast and provides us the dedicated workforce and the flexibility to run this 21st century facility efficiently and safely," EGT CEO Larry Clarke said in a prepared statement.

The ship was still docked Friday, and EGT was working through problems with the ship loading equipment, said Doug Averett, the port's director of operations. The ship will likely remain docked for the next few days, he said.

In January, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she had brokered a settlement with the union and EGT, ending the year-long dispute and pushing the two sides into collective bargaining talks.

As part of the settlement, EGT agreed to dispatch workers from the ILWU Local 21 hall in Longview, and those workers later voted to allow the ILWU to represent them - a federal labor law requirement. EGT also agreed to drop all unfair labor claims and lawsuits that had resulted from the year-long labor dispute.

The ILWU agreed to call off protests at the grain terminal and not require EGT to keep workers on the job when no grain needs to be moved at the terminal.

A year ago, early talks between EGT and the ILWU broke off because the two sides were far apart on jobs in the control room, overtime pay and the total number of shift workers. The conflict escalated and led to hundreds of arrests, efforts to block EGT-bound trains and occasional violence. Area unions and the Occupy movement were gearing up for mass protests of the incoming ship before the settlement was announced.

ILWU officials said their contract with the port obligated EGT to hire union longshoremen to work on the terminal's 35-acre site, which is leased from the port. EGT disagreed and instead hired union contractor General Construction, which employed union operating engineers.

General has not responded to requests for comment. ILWU sources say the company and its International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 are no longer working at the terminal.

Read more: http://tdn.com/news/local/ilwu-members-finalize-port-grain-terminal-contract-with-egt/article_d995c282-5423-11e1-9450-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1m3FC4ps9

Joined: 15-04-06
Feb 15 2012 17:41

As an FYI.....just passed along by a comrade.

Longshore workers name Occupy Movement as crucial in
settlement with EGT


For Immediate Release

February 11, 2012

Longshore workers name Occupy Movement as crucial in
settlement with EGT

Coordinated action by West Coast Occupys proves effective as
ILWU Local 21 ratifies contract

Longview, WA - On Friday, members of the ILWU and the labor
community named the Occupy Movement as key to the settlement
reached Thursday between ILWU Local 21 and the Export Grain
Terminal (EGT). The contract finally provides for the use of
ILWU labor in the grain terminal at the Port of Longview.
After staging the December 12 port shutdowns in solidarity
with Local 21, the West Coast Occupy Movement planned
coordinated action together with labor allies for a land and
water blockade of the EGT ship in Longview, should it attempt
to use scab labor to load. Occupys in states where EGT's
parent company Bunge has its growth and operations were also
planning actions against the company on the day of the
arrival of the ship.

"This is a victory for Occupy in their involvement in forcing
negotiations. Make no mistake - the solidarity and
organization between the Occupy Movement and the Longshoremen
won this contract," said Jack Mulcahy, ILWU officer with
Local 8. "The mobilization of the Occupy Movement across the
country, particularly in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and
Longview were a critical element in bringing EGT to the
bargaining table and forcing a settlement with ILWU local

"West Coast Occupys had already demonstrated their ability
to stage such a blockade by shutting down ports along the
West Coast on December 12th, as well as the Port of Oakland
on November 2nd," said Anthony Leviege, ILWU Local 10 in
Oakland. The Occupy Movement shut down ports in order to
express solidarity with port truckers and Local 21, as well
as responding to a nationally-coordinated eviction campaign
against Occupy.

Negotiations progressed to the point where Longshore workers
began loading the merchant vessel Full Sources on Tuesday.
"When any company ruptures jurisdiction it is a threat to the
entire union. The union jobs wouldn't be back in Longview if
it weren't for Occupy. It's a win for the entire class of
workers in the Occupy Movement in demonstrating their
organizational skills," said Leviege.

"It is clear that the port shutdowns on November 2nd and
December 12th, and the impending mobilization in Longview, is
what made EGT come to the table. When Governor Gregoire
intervened a year ago nothing was settled - non-ILWU workers
were still working in the port. It wasn't until rank and file
and Occupy planned a mass convergence to blockade the ship
that EGT suddenly had the impetus to negotiate." said
Clarence Thomas, an officer of ILWU Local 10. "Labor can no
longer win victories against the employers without the
community. It must include a broad-based Movement. The
strategy and tactics employed by the occupy Movement in
conjunction with rank and file ILWU members confirm that the
past militant traditions of the ILWU are still effective
against the employers today."

EGT itself made evident the company's concern about Occupy's
role in the conflict in the January 27 settlement agreement:
"The ILWU Entities shall issue a written notice to The Daily
News and the general public, including the Occupy Movement,
informing them of this settlement and urging them to cease
and desist from any actions[...]."

"The Occupy Movement and rank-and-file unionists both within
and outside of our ranks have forced the company to settle,
but this is not over," says Jess Kincaid of Occupy Portland.
"Occupy doesn't sign contracts. We have not entered into any
agreements with EGT, nor do we intend to do so. EGT and its
parent company Bunge bribe the government for military
escorts, use slave labor in Brazil and systematically avoid
contributing anything to our social safety net in the US or
abroad. There is no ethic here beyond putting money back in
the pocket of the 1% at the cost of working people and the
sustainability of the earth."

"It was the brave action of members of Local 21 blocking the
train tracks this past summer that inspired the solidarity of
the Occupy Movement up and down the West Coast and around the
country. It was not until Occupy joined together with Local
21 and its labor allies that the company returned to the
table. Governor Gregoire did nothing but let EGT raid
Longshore Jurisdiction until Occupy responded to the call for
support," said Paul Nipper of Occupy Longview.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 19 2012 19:07

Longview Longshore: Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory - a Concessionary Contract

fnbrill's picture
Joined: 13-01-07
Mar 20 2012 16:08

Funny, it's the same folks circulating the declaration that Occupy had helped the ILWU to a major victory.