In a dispute over the new EGT Grain Terminal in Longview, Washington and management's refusal to recognize the International Longshore and Warehouse Union as the workers' representative, union militants attacked the facility to sabotage the facility's first shipment of grain, protesting in defiance of a court injunction.
Posted 8 September 2011
After yesterday’s confrontation at the EGT Grain Terminal, where 19 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were arrested, another demonstration is developing this morning, with an estimated 1,000 local union members descending on the facility, starting at about 4:40 am. Around 400 were involved in yesterday’s demonstration on the railroad tracks, starting about 3:30 pm.
Protesting union members blocked the tracks and squared off against about 40 law enforcement officers equipped in tactical helmets, with some carrying bean-bag shotguns and pepper-ball guns. Three were arrested in the original confrontation, then a standoff of about an hour took place. At about 4:35 pm, the 107-car train backed up about 200 yards, to the cheers of the crowd. At that time, ILWU National President Robert McEllrath told the crowd that it was time to back off, to “live to fight another day.”
McEllrath emphasizes that this fight is not against Burlington Northern/Santa Fe and their union workers, it’s against a multinational corporation that trying to take union jobs…..Most of the crowd left after McEllrath’s speech, with just a few lingering on the tracks. Around 7 pm, they started moving the train again, and 16 were arrested at that time. All are being charged with second-degree trespassing.
This morning, the protestors actually entered the plant site, storming the security guards at the facility. None of those people were attacked or injured, but they report that the protestors took a Columbia Security vehicle, then drove it into a ditch. Windows were also broken out on the guard shack. Speaking with local law enforcement from a hiding place in the plant, the security guards reported that the protestors went in and cut hoses on the train that had entered the facility. After doing that damage, those involved in the confrontation quickly left, while law enforcement resources were staging nearby. Shortly after 6 am, law enforcement set up a perimeter around the plant, planning to arrest all remaining protestors on the property.
At this point, it’s not known how many will be facing charges. Officers entering the property around 6:30 am reported finding that a gate had been torn down, and that hoppers had been opened on at least 100 grain cars, spilling their contents. Union officials are expected to be in Federal court in Tacoma this afternoon, as a hearing is held regarding the Temporary Restraining Order issued against the ILWU last week.
At that time, Judge Ronald Leighton was extremely adamant that the union not engage in picket line violence, vandalism, or other blocking of ingress and egress to the facility. Yesterday’s demonstration and this morning’s events would appear to be major violations of those orders. Today’s hearing is scheduled for 1:30 pm in Federal court in Tacoma.
From radio station KLOG's website.
Also see New York Times' coverage.