Occupy stands firm - solidarity with Longview continues!
Don’t stop mobilizing until the workers declare victory!
As you may have heard, EGT and ILWU are back at the bargaining table and scab work at the Longview grain terminal has stopped. Did EGT come back to the bargaining table because Washington Governor Christine Gregoire asked them to? NOPE! It was you. The determination of the workers in Longview, ILWU ranks in other locals, and the thousands of people in the Occupy Movement threatening to mobilize on an exploitative and union-busting boss have forced EGT into negotiations. The strength we demonstrated on December 12th during the coordinated West Coast port shutdown showed that the Occupy Movement is capable of disrupting profit-making and affecting the means of production--the only thing the 1% really cares about.
While a contract with ILWU will not change the fact that EGT and its parent companies, specifically Bunge Ltd., are "Wall Street on the Waterfront," witnessed by their record of despicable practices that destroy communities here and abroad, Occupy absolutely supports Local 21 in determining the terms and conditions of their labor. Our movement remains committed to fighting economic systems that pit worker against worker for the benefit of corporations that exploit our natural resources and destroy the fabric of our communities.
As confidential negotiations between the ILWU and EGT continue, we will continue to stand beside the workers of Longview. West Coast Occupations will not stop organizing and preparing to mobilize until the Longshore workers claim victory. If members of Local 21 vote to approve the contract, we will go celebrate with them. If negotiations stall or if the results are not satisfactory to the Local 21 rank and file, our caravan will be ready to go.
RWU Resolution Condemning the Use of the U.S. Military to Escort Scab Grain Ship in Longview, WA.
Whereas,EGT, a joint venture led by multinational grain giant Bunge, had originally agreed to hire union Longshoremen when accepting millions in taxpayer funds to build a huge new grain exporting terminal at the Port of Longview WA, but once the terminal was built, has now tried to void its contract and refused to hire ILWU labor; and
Whereas, EGT has managed to get enough scab grain across picket lines into the new terminal that EGT appears poised to load a ship soon in violation of their agreement with the port; and
Whereas,a solidarity caravan of thousands of union members and community activists – endorsed by ILWU Locals 10 and 21, the S.F. and Cowlitz County (Longview) labor councils and many others – is being organized to support our brothers and sisters in Longview, for an emergency mass protest when requested to do so; and
Whereas, according to Long shore & Shipping News, within a month, the empty grain ship will be escorted by armed U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility; and
Whereas, this is the first known use of the United States military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of management in 40 years – not since the Great 1970 Postal Strike when President Nixon called out the Army and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike; and
Whereas,the use of the armed forces against labor unions is something you might expect to see in a dictatorship or police state but never in a free and democratic society; and
Whereas,ILWU international President Bob McEllrath has stated: “ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities”;
Therefore be it Resolved,that Railroad Workers United condemns any and all use of the United States military to provide an armed sea and air escort for the empty grain ship, which is due to call at the new EGT grain terminal, Port of Longview, Washington, to load scab grain for export to Asia; and
Be it further Resolved,that RWU join with allies in other cities on the West Coast to participate in any press conferences and demonstrations that are organized to denounce this use of the military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of the foreign-owned “Wall Street on the Waterfront”; and
Be it finally Resolved,that RWU circulate this resolution to all rail unions, and urge our labor leaders to take a strong stand against this brazen assault, by a foreign corporation and our own government on the labor rights and civil liberties of our brothers and sisters in the ILWU. An assault on their labor rights is an assault on ours.
Adopted by the RWU Steering Committee January 24th, 2012
Whereas, EGT, a joint venture led by multinational grain giant Bunge, agreed to hire union Longshoremen when accepting millions in taxpayer funds to build a huge new grain exporting terminal at the Port of Longview WA, but once the terminal was built has tried to void its contract and refused to hire ILWU labor. With the use of brutal police and courts and 220 arrests in the 225 member ILWU Local 21, EGT has managed to get enough scab grain across picket lines into the new terminal that EGT appears poised to load a ship soon in violation of their agreement with the port; and
Whereas, a solidarity caravan of thousands of union members and community activists – endorsed by ILWU Locals 10 and 21, the S.F. and Cowlitz County (Longview) labor councils and many others – is being organized to support our brothers and sisters in Longview, for an emergency mass protest when requested to do so, to confront union- busting by Wall Street on the Waterfront; and
Whereas, according to Longshore & Shipping News, within a month, the empty grain ship will be escorted by armed U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the EGT facility. The Coast Guard is an integral part of the US Armed Forces, operating under the Department of Homeland Security (except when engaged in combat operations abroad, as it did in Iraq, when it operates under the Navy); and
Whereas, this is the first known use of the US military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of management in 40 years – not since the Great 1970 Postal Strike when President Nixon called out the Army and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike. The use of the Armed Forces against labor unions is something you expect to see in a police state. This is part of a disturbing trend where the US military, acting as enforcers for the 1%, is poised to be used against our own people, as exemplified by the new law allowing the military to imprison US citizens indefinitely without trial; and
Whereas, now the US military, which has been oppressing, bombing and threatening other nations [a military that’s paid for with the workers’ taxes] is now being used against us, against American working people and our unions. To quote ILWU international President McEllrath: “ILWU’s labor dispute with EGT is symbolic of what is wrong in the United States today. Corporations, no matter how harmful the conduct to society, enjoy full state and federal protection while workers and the middle class get treated as criminals for trying to protect their jobs and communities.”
Therefore be it Resolved, that the PSC condemn in the strongest terms the announced use of US Armed Forces (Coast Guard) to provide an armed sea and air escort for the empty grain ship, which is due to call at the new EGT grain terminal, Port of Longview, Washington, to load scab grain for export to Asia. We condemn this use of the military as part of a union-busting campaign to lower the cost of labor on the waterfront and destroy the union;
And be it further Resolved, that the PSC join with allies to support press conferences and demonstrations that are organized to denounce this use of the military to intervene in a labor dispute on the side of Wall Street on the Waterfront;
And be it finally Resolved, that the PSC circulate this resolution to the New York City Central Labor council, and the New York State AFL-CIO. and urge them to take a strong stand against this brazen assault on our labor rights and civil liberties.
Passed by the PSC Delegate Assembly, Jan 19, 20, 2012
Occupy responds to ILWU & EGT tentative agreement for Longview
Occupations will continue to mobilize until the agreement is finalized by ILWU membership
Longview, WA –Occupy protesters and members of labor arestill poised to converge on Longview, despite news of a temporary agreement offered to the longshoremen of ILWU Local 21, who have been mired in a 6-month long battle with multinational grain holding company, EGT. Occupiers say news of the offer is not stopping their plans to blockade the loading of a grain ship.
Besides the fact that there is no public knowledge of an alleged "temporary agreement" between EGT (Export Grain Terminal) and the ILWU--despite suggestions otherwise--occupiers are concerned the bargaining process will be rushed. "Any legitimate negotiating process will allow rank-and-file reasonable time to consider and to ratify details of an agreement with their employer," says Jess Kincaid, an organizer with Occupy Portland.
Occupies Portland, Longview, andOakland, who have coordinated an inter-occupy caravan of protesters from along the West Coast, say they are not swayed by the new development: "What we want is the best possible conditions for rank-and-file. Anything less, and Occupy will mobilize as planned," promised Occupy Oakland's Barucha Peller. The company-- majority-owned by multinational grain exporter Bunge-- has used private mercenaries, litigation, and other forms of pressure to break the ILWU's contracted jurisdiction on the West Coast.
"This temporary agreement could be a step towards maintaining the jurisdiction of the Longshore union. However, Occupy will continue mobilizing until rank-and-file Longshore workers reach an agreement," said Paul Nipper, organizer with Occupy Longview.
Supporters of the Longview workers are continuing to mobilize and stand ready for defense of the rank-and-file workers.
Contact: John E. Peck, executive director #608-260-0900
Family Farm Defenders Declares its Solidarity with International Longshore Workers
Denying Workers The Right to Organize is a Gross Violation of Food Sovereignty
Family Farm Defenders, a national organization based in Madison, WI expresses its solidarity with International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) Local 21, and strongly condemns all attempts to deny workers their basic right to organize.
“Similar strategies of collective action have been successfully used by farmers and workers for centuries in their struggles against corporate robber barons and the fight being waged today on the docks in Washington State, pitting unionized longshore workers against greedy grain exporters, is really no different,” notes John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders. “It was this historic solidarity that brought ILWU members all the way from the West Coast to bolster the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of protesters outside the state capitol in Madison during the Cheddar Uprising last spring, and which is prompting workers and farmers in Wisconsin and across the nation to express our support for their effort now. An injury to one is an injury to all.”
As an active member of La Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for family farmers in the world, Family Farm Defenders is a staunch advocate of food sovereignty. One of the underlying principles of food sovereignty is that ALL workers deserve a living wage, dignified working conditions, and the right to organize. This guarantee extends to everyone working in the food/farm system – not just farmers and farmworkers, but also meatpackers, retail clerks, restaurant servers, truck drivers, and dockworkers.
The union-busting corporation, EGT Development, which is now hiring scabs to replace ILWU workers, is hardly unfamiliar to family farmers as its dominant partner, Bunge North America, has a notorious reputation for commodity price fixing and taxpayer subsidized dumping. Bunge is among the world’s top three grain traders and saw its profits jump by 77% in the last quarter of 2007 thanks to speculation on the global food crisis. By the end of 2010 Bunge saw its revenues balloon to $45.7 billion with $2.35 billion in reported profits. As a major peddler of livestock feed and agro fuels, Bunge is also responsible for environmental destruction, industrial factory farm expansion, and biotech contamination worldwide.
“This crude attempt by EGT to consolidate its control over West Coast export facilities is clearly designed to take advantage of the latest round of bad trade deals such as the Korea U.S. Trade Agreement (KORUS) and the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP),” continued John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders. “To be honest the ILWU will be doing U.S. taxpayers a huge favor, too, by blocking any load of scab grain headed overseas, since these cheap exports are only made possible by denying farmers a fair market price and larding massive subsidies onto outfits like Bungee.”
Family Farm Defenders will also be urging its members and allies to contact Pres. Obama to express their outrage that the White House is directing the U.S. Coast Guard to support EGT Development against the ILWU in this labor dispute. ###
ALSO Text @noegtpdx to 23559 to receive notification.
CALL TO ACTION:
One of the most important labor struggles of our generation is happening in our backyard. Just one hour away in Longview, WA, the 1% is making an historic grab to break the labor movement. EGT has broken the 80-year-long standing agreement with ILWU, a union well known for its role in supporting the struggles of 99%.
Join Occupy Portland, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Longview, and a growing number of unions and organizations in mobilizing to Longview as soon as we receive the call for solidarity. This is a massive mobilization and all eyes are on us in Portland to help provide housing and transportation for supporters from as far away as Florida!
Help spread the word far and wide. We've attached the LIUNA Laborers 483 Resolution as a sample resolution in support of this action. The online caravan sign up form (link above and below) will help us count our numbers and organize our emergency mobilization plan.
Our next planning meeting is on Tuesday 1/24 @6pm at the SEIU 503 Hall, 6401 SE Foster Rd.
Labor solidarity supporters of ILWU Local 21 in Longview, Washington occupied the offices of Itochu in San Francisco. Itochu is part of a union busting partnership to break the ILWU coast wide contract. They have arrested and attacked ILWU members and their families in Washington and plan to open a Wal-Mart type operation at the grain elevator at the port
Supporters of ILWU Local 21 Longview longshore workers in their fight against EGK occupied the offices of Itochu in San Franciso on January 20, 2012. Itochu is part of EGT which is seeking to set up a Wal-Mart type operation at their grain elevator at the port of Longview in Washington. They demanded that Itochu stop their union busting. They also said they would be going to greet the scab ship when it arrives at the port later this month.
The Interntional Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) local 21 in Longview, Washington has put out the call to all working class people to come to Longview [date TBD] for an historic protest. EGT, a giant multi-natiional corporation which controls one-third of the world's grain trade, is trying to bust the ILWU, one of America's most progressive and powerful unions. EGT's first grain ship will be docking soon, escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Host Jamie Partridge interviews Meredith Reese from the Labor Solidarity Committee of OCCUPY Portland about organizing for this pivotal battle of the 99% vs the 1%.
Join ani and Lyn with their guests to discuss how on-going struggles are relating to the Occupy Movement.
Arlo Stone is involved with Occupy Portland, and is currently working with Occupy the EGT, an action in solidarity with the Longview ILWU. The Longview ILWU has been engaged in struggle against the huge union-busting corporation EGT, which has a grain ship scheduled to come to Longview within the next couple of weeks. They have asked that "friends of labor and the 99% everwhere" support them is this struggle.
Nora Callahan is the Executive Director of the November Coalition. She has just returned from a 5-weeks spent with Occupy DC.
We'll also hear an update of other actions coming up for Occupy, including Friday's Occupy the Courts, a national day of action to demonstrate against corporate personhood on the anniversary of the Citizen's United decision; January 25th: A day of solidarity with Tahrir Square on the 1st anniversary of their uprising; an action against the NDAA on February 3rd, and F-29 A day of action to shut down corporations (on February 29th)-- to name but a few.