Wednesday, September 28, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Demonstration Against State Repression in Longview, Washington Sat, 09/24/2011

Puget Sound Anarchists

Location: Civic Circle - Longview, WA by the Post Office
Time: ‎5:30PM Thursday, September 29th

Union, Non-union, Friends, Family, anyone and everyone who is disappointed
with the way EGT has failed to follow through with their promises to our
community and are upset with the way the police use intimidation,
repression and violence to stamp out our resistance to corporate

Bring your own: banners, signs, leaflets, posters, plans, voices and courage!

The ILWU workers in Longview Washington have taken a courageous stand on
behalf of all of us. They are on the frontline of a struggle that touches
working people everywhere. They serve as examples to everyone by refusing
to be exploited and walking the hard line by physically standing in the
way of industry to increase their quality of life.

Labor militancy in the United States has been disappearing for decades and
as it goes away, so does our ability to look towards a future that holds
the kind of promise we want to deliver to the next generation. The ILWU
workers are standing up for those of us whose power has been taken away,
those of us without a union, without a say in how we get paid, what our
employers do or how responsible our work places are to our needs and

The ILWU DOES NOT have authorization from their union leadership to
strike. We recognize that union authority flows directly from the workers.
This rally is about recognizing the workers themselves and supporting them
in taking a militant stand against a labor system that takes advantage of
us all. It is also about showing our empathy and solidarity with them as
they face a tremendous force of state repression.

In this time of financial crisis and global uncertainty about the future,
the Longview strikers and all of their solidarity strikers and support
protesters serve as powerful examples of what we can do when we assert
ourselves directly. They show us that if the rules are unfair, we can't
play by the rules and when we act together, those powers that wish to take
away the last bit of security we have left are helpless but to change.

Thank you Longview Longshoremen! You're here for us and we're here for you!

See you on Thursday at 5:30pm in Longview!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

[olympiaworkers] THIS WEAPON HAS A HEART! An evening of local music & radio stories from Honduras resistance.

THIS WEAPON HAS A HEART! An evening of local music & radio stories on Honduras resistance.
Wednesday, September 28, $5 suggested donation. 7PM till. @ Media Island, 816 Adams St. SE

Caitlin Payne Roberts- "I got back from Honduras a couple of weeks ago after getting to know folks from 6 community radio stations, doing a lot of interviews, grabbing resistance music files, and recording live music. I'm putting it all together to create an AUDIO documentary, that's no video, to broadcast on over a dozen radio stations internationally. It's about Honduran community radio spitting in the face of state terror. I'm crafting the documentary, which is called THIS WEAPON HAS HEART or ESTE ARMA TIENE CORAZÔN, in two versions, one in Spanish and one in English.

The title refers to the fact that at each of the 6 stations I visited, I was told that community RADIO IS THE WEAPON OF CHOICE for indigenous, campesino, and Garifuna groups in land struggles. During this tour I will share what I experienced with activists nationwide and encourage thinktanks on actions we can take, such as forming local anti-militarization campaigns, or starting our own community radio stations, to pressure the U.S. government to drain military funding to Honduras and end human rights abuses in Central America.

So on Wednesday Sep 28, we can talk about solidarity strategies and I'll give a report back from Honduras. Then we'll play music."

Violet Flame Meditation -- Ruth Allison Dana solo or with special guests, raw --

1985 -- matt FU of seattle doing up his solo set while kayaking on an atlantic wave --

autococoon -- cait PAYNE doing up her solo set on guitar run through some analog pedals --

Segments from the audio doc will be played between sets.

First Sunday Brunch Benefit for Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace
Gandhi's Birthday! October 2, 11-2 @ Media Island, 816 Adams St. SE
We are making buckwheat pancakes, eggs, potatoes, fruit & pastries. Buffet style! Delicious! It is to support the Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace who have been doing great work and are gearing up for the People's Movement Assembly!

This First Sunday Community Brunch is a tradition at Media Island! If you have come before please come again and bring a friend. We are trusting word of mouth to make this secret buffet brunch a continued success!

We ask for a donation of a sliding scale and if you can't donate much we could use your help cooking, doing dishes, greeting people, as live entertainment or by asking local business for donations.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Thousands of Employees Riot at Indonesian Shipyard

Sept. 20, 2011 Jakarta Globe

Thousands of subcontracted employees working for PT Nexus Engineering
Indonesia in Batam went on the rampage on Tuesday morning, burning a
company office.

It is the second such attack involving a ship-yard business in the
province in 18 months.

Antara reported that the incident was sparked by a security officer who
allegedly punched an employee.

Outraged employees soon ran amok, forcing the evacuation of a number of
personnel as the mob burned an equipment check room and a motorcycle
belonging to the security guard.

Subandi, the coordinator of subcontract employee at the company, said the
incident happened so quickly "the security officers could not control the
angry mob."

He said the company hires 5,000 subcontracted employees though not all
were present at the site on Tuesday.

Thousands were involved in the riot, he said.

Police have secured the scene.

Nexus, which also operates in Singapore, is yet to make a statement.

Monday, September 19, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Pizza Hut Workers: Cheesed Off From Paris To Sheffield

Wage theft, union-busting and fighting back at the pizza chain in France,
Spain and the United Kingdom

By Monika Vykoukal
Industrial Worker #1738 - September 2011

"The pizzas are better, and they've got newer scooters," observes David as
we hang out just outside a Pizza Hut store on a hot, sticky July night in
Paris. A fellow worker who is organizing at Pizza Hut in Sheffield, U.K.,
David is here for a couple of days to connect with local Pizza Hut
workers, who have been on strike for over nine weeks at press time.

July 11 was the employment tribunal hearing for two workers who contend,
with the support of their union Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD),
that they have been sacked in connection with their strike and union
activities. As the entire city seems to wind down for the holiday period,
the ruling will not be out until early September, and our comrades have
decided it's best to pause their struggle for now as well.

David, an IWW member since February, has gotten 25 of his 30 colleagues on
board for concerted action and to join the IWW. They are just gearing up
to get properly started in Sheffield. The Britain and Ireland Regional
Administration (BIRA) of the IWW received their "Certificate of
Independence," which puts the IWW on equal footing with other unions in
terms of labor law, allowing for legal strike action. Once we had the
certificate, David and his colleagues would really get going. Meanwhile,
as we had learned earlier that same day, the Confederación Nacional del
Trabajo (CNT) at Pizza Hut in Cáceres, Spain—who had been protesting since
February—had won the reinstatement and back pay for three workers who were
found to have been unfairly dismissed because of their union activity.

As I join David in conversations with the workers in Paris, I learn how
much their struggle is a shared experience, yet again, of low pay, lack of
pay for hours worked, unsafe working conditions, lack of health coverage
and other protections, food safety issues at the stores, lack of support
from business unions, and unionbusting efforts when workers get together
to ask not even for improvements, but merely for the adherence to existing
rights and protections.
Workers' Struggles At Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut, a U.S.-based global fast food chain, is a subsidiary of Yum!
Brands—the world's largest restaurant company. Pizza Hut and Yum! Brands
are, under different guises, attacking their workers across Europe once
more, apparently going just as far as they can under the different legal
frameworks of each country. In France this backlash might be particularly
bitter, as numerous earlier struggles at the chain had fought hard for and
won the very same demands that now have to be fought for once more.

Strike action has taken place almost yearly since 2000, in the early years
significantly led by the business union Confédération Générale du Travail
(CGT), and largely by its militant organizer and longtime Pizza Hut worker
Abdel Mabrouki. Around 2003, concerted action by CGT organizers across the
fast food sector also included a major strike in a McDonald's store that
lasted for almost a year. Abdel, who worked at Pizza Hut from the late
1980s until 2009, went on to become a co-founder of Paris-based network
Stop Précarité (, which remains central in
supporting struggles like those at Pizza Hut, and wrote the book
"Génération Précaire" (Le Cherche Midi, 2004) about union organizing in
the casualized retail sector in France, at companies such as Pizza Hut,
McDonald's and Disneyland. In 2005, Pizza Hut also saw strike action in
New Zealand as part of the organizing campaign "Supersize My Pay" of the
Unite Union (http://www., who remain active there and at
other fast food chains, such as KFC and McDonald's.

Changing ownership of Pizza Hut in France, as well as the gradual
franchising of previously directly held stores—a process which forms part
of Yum!'s business strategy—have caused the loss of the hard-won gains
made in those multiple struggles and have had a negative impact on the
Pizza Hut workers' ability to organize. In France, the company tends to
retain direct ownership of more profitable locations, while benefiting
from the fixed rates it gets from less successful, franchised locations. A
watershed moment here appears to be the 2009 sale of its French operations
by Yum! to a new "master franchise" holder: the Belgian company Top
Brands, which was already running Belgium's Pizza Huts.

Most Pizza Hut workers are in their early- to mid- 20s, but some of them
have worked for the company for many years. Many workers are also
students, and everyone I meet works part time, making just a couple
hundred euros a month, while living in a very costly city with a long-term
housing crisis. Keeping up with both a fast food job and studies can be
tricky, and some of the workers here in Paris are from North African
countries such as Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria, so they also depend on
their student status to allow them to stay in Paris. This vulnerability to
such double pressure was one of the triggers for the renewed action at
Pizza Hut stores in Paris.
Workers Strike

"This strike started when a migrant worker, who had been doing a manager's
job for an employee's pay, was suspended when the company claimed to
'suddenly acdiscover this, although they had records that showed they were
aware of his circumstances long before, just a few months before he could
get legal," explains Hichem Aktouche, the SUD delegate at Pizza Hut. "Not
only did Pizza Hut fail to inform him of the situation previously, he also
had no other immediate means to support himself."

Additional grievances included the firing of the manager of a store who
had been "too nice to his employees." A few days into the protest,
organizers also checked out the workers' paychecks, and, to Hichem, "it
was obvious that some hours were 'forgotten' every month, from August 2009
on." The demand for the back payment of all hours worked became a key
focus of the following strike, in addition to the "usual" demands of
timely payment of wages, paid sick leave, complete coverage of work
accidents, and the payment of the 13th month salary (Editor's note: In
France and other countries, a "13th month salary" is a common form of a
bonus that is not mandatory, but can be negotiated).

The fight began on May 13, with strikes on weekends at alternating
take-out and delivery store locations across the city. This strategy lends
an element of surprise and hits the stores in some of their busiest
periods of the week. Strikers have been hard-hit financially, and the
company appears unlikely to be willing to compensate them for any of their
strike days. To raise funds, donations were solicited during the pickets,
at the presidential campaign launch rally of the Front de Gauche ("Left
Front"), at the "Indignant Assembly" and from other sympathetic political

Pizza Hut, refusing to negotiate with the strikers, instead asked the
representative of the majority union Confédération Française Démocratique
du Travail (CFDT) to end the strike, which they attempted without success.
Subsequently, management also wrote to a leader of SUD to contend that the
strike action was illegal. The result: the contacted union leader appeared
at the next picket himself and yelled into his megaphone: "I demand to see
Chapalain [the director of Pizza Hut France] now!"

Pizza Hut's next move was to contact Inspection du Travail, a body of
civil servants who surveil employment and labor law—yet again backfired
when workers provided the inspector with their evidence, who then asked
the company to pay workers for their unpaid hours. With a renewed flaring
up of support in late June, workers decided to continue their weekend
pickets until the day before their employment tribunal on July 11.

While it's impossible to predict the results of this specific tribunal,
past tribunals of this kind were won. During the 2009 Pizza Hut strike,
one of the workers eventually won his reinstatement and back pay after an
18-month trial. Pizza Hut then gave the worker a substantial additional
payment on the condition that he did not return to work.

On July 11, the day of the tribunal hearing, the Communist Group and the
elected representatives of the Left Party presented a resolution in
support of the striking workers at The Council of Paris, which passed,
asking the mayor to write to Pizza Hut demanding they respect employment
legislation. However, despite their determined and fierce fight, and after
nine weeks of struggle at press time, the company is still unwilling to
negotiate, and the workers have not won any concessions. Most notably, the
company still owes the workers full payment of all hours they have worked
in the last year. Yet at least, they hope, they have shown their anger and
willingness to stick together and fight for their rights.
Struggles in Spain and the U.K.

Union busting, meanwhile, has been rebuffed in the CNT's struggle in
Spain, where they have organized stores in Cáceres and Badajoz. In
February, several workers posted a list of demands— including weekends
off, holiday pay and transportation contributions—on a notice board at
their store. The company, despite its recognition of the union, promptly
sacked three of the unionized workers. In addition to regular pickets on
Fridays and Saturdays, as well as a demonstration in Cáceres in April, the
union filed a complaint with the labor court and eventually won the
reinstatement with full back pay of all three workers. Beyond this initial
victory, the struggle for better conditions is set to continue.

Workers' demands in Sheffield are not dissimilar to those elsewhere, but
they respond to the slightly different circumstances of the U.K. labor
situation and its exploitation by Pizza Hut. Unlike in France, where the
CFDT—who opposed the recent strike action, as well as the smaller radical
union SUD—had been active at Pizza Hut for some time, there was no
previous union presence in Sheffield, as is characteristic of the
commercial and services sector in general. Since organizing with the IWW
earlier this summer, fellow workers have begun to start their union
activity for safety in maintaining the scooters they use for delivery and
to support workers individually. Their main demands are focused on the
working conditions of delivery drivers and on wage increases.

"Working conditions at the company are very bad, the hourly rate is
£5.83," David went on to explain in an interview with activists from the
youth section of the left-political New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), who
covered the strike in their newspaper Tout Est À Nous:

"Delivery drivers who have no license for the scooters have to use their
own vehicle, but they are only reimbursed £0.6 per delivery. It's a total
rip off! We have filed a collective grievance against this situation."

In late July, due to pressure from IWW members, management at Pizza Hut
admitted that the IWW's demand for better commission for delivery drivers
was justified. However, as David writes, this review does not in any way
guarantee an adequate outcome, and it could be used to justify further
reduction of the delivery drivers' pay. IWW organizing is expanding to
other Pizza Hut stores in Sheffield and elsewhere.
Looking Forward

A few days after David leaves to return to Sheffield, I am chatting with
Hichem, who is getting ready for his own summer break. I think this is the
first time I've seen him sit still since I came to their picket for the
first time a few weeks ago. Having been at Pizza Hut since he was 20, he's
seen past strikes, past wins and the losses that followed. He tells me,
somewhat wryly, that we can't know yet whether workers will be in a
position to renew their strike in the fall. Too many new hires will still
be in their trial period. The bosses have also changed shifts, so more
militant workers are now surrounded by those new hires. And, perhaps, by
the fall, too many people will be desperate to earn a bit of money, or
they will need to return to their studies.

Yet, with David's visit, we have given each other a better insight into
our shared situation than any abstract analysis of "precarious labor"
could have provided. We have also seen each other's determination to keep
fighting, and to find ways to not only oppose the attacks of management,
but to make demands for—and win—better working conditions. Since the
employment tribunal hearing here in Paris on July 11, it looks like our
fellow workers in France face even more attacks on their union rights.
Meanwhile, Wobblies in Sheffield have now presented their demands and are
awaiting the company's response. In September, the heat might be on.

For updates from Pizza Hut Sheffield, see the IWW Sheffield Blog at

The SUD Pizza Hut Strike Fund is still in need of donations: SYND SUD
5370 690.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Tacoma Teachers On Strike, Thousands Of Kids Free For The Coming Days

Sept. 13, 2011 Puget Sound Anarchists

TACOMA, Wash. -- Striking teachers in the state's third-largest school
district hit the picket line Tuesday morning after weekend contract
negotiations failed to result in an agreement.

Eighty-seven percent of the Tacoma Education Association's total
membership voted Monday evening to walk out, union spokesman Rich Wood

On Tuesday morning, teachers walked back and forth in front of Lincoln
High School with picket signs while the districts 28,000 students stayed

"Kids need us. But they also need us in a positive learning environment,"
said teacher Brent Gaspaire.

The union and district are still fighting over pay, class size and the way
the teachers are transferred and reassigned.

The Tacoma School District will seek an immediate court injunction Tuesday
to terminate the strike, which school officials contend is illegal,
district spokesman Dan Voelpel said.

Superintendent Art Jarvis will revisit the decision to keep schools closed
in light of whatever happens in court, Voelpel said.

Both the Washington attorney general and state judges have ruled that
state public employees do not have the right to strike.

District officials sent automated calls to parents and staff explaining
their response to the strike. Athletics will continue since coaches are
covered under a different contract.

Tacoma teachers have been working without a contract since school started
Sept. 1. The union and district negotiated Saturday but couldn't agree on
a contract proposal.

A strike vote at the end of August failed by about 28 votes. Union bylaws
require approval by 80 percent of the nearly 1,900 members to authorize a

Since the last strike vote was so close, the union decided to allow
members with schedule conflicts to vote early. About 200 union members
with after-school responsibilities like coaching voted Friday or Saturday,
Wood said. This time, 1,623 of the union's 1,869 members voted to walk
out, he said.

A 2006 state attorney general's opinion said state and local public
employees - including teachers - have no legally protected right to
strike. That opinion also noted state law lacks specific penalties for
striking public employees.

During several past teacher strikes, Washington school districts have gone
to court and judges have ordered teachers back to work.

In Washington, only the Seattle and Spokane school districts are larger
than Tacoma.

Tacoma teachers earned an average salary of $63,793 during last school
year, according to the district. They are the best-paid teachers in Pierce
County and about the fifth-highest paid among the state's largest
districts, behind teachers in Everett, Northshore, Seattle and Bellevue,
according to state data.

The Legislature included in its state budget a 1.9 percent cut in teacher
pay but left it up to school districts to figure out how to save that
money. Some districts have made cuts elsewhere, some have cut teacher pay,
and others have worked out compromises with their local teachers union.

The News Tribune reports that on the issue of pay, the district said
Sunday it has offered teachers two options.

They could maintain the current pay schedule and sacrifice pay for one
personal day, one individual optional training day and one school-wide
training day. Or they could accept an effective 1.35 percent cut in the
salary schedule. In exchange, teachers would be allowed to schedule 2.5
furlough days.

The district said it has also offered to keep class size maximums at the
current level. The union wants to decrease class sizes, but the district
says subtracting one child per class could cost the district about $1.8
million a year.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Here’s why Longshore workers in Longview are so angry

The Stand

LONGVIEW (Sept. 8th) — Violence erupted today in a major labor dispute
that has simmered for months at the Port of Longview, leading to work
shutdowns at ports up and down the Washington coast. Why are members of
the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) — and their
supporters in Washington and Oregon — so upset about a grain terminal that
employs just 50 workers?

Here's why.

EGT Development is a joint venture of Japan-based Itochu Corp, South
Korea's STX Pan Ocean and St. Louis-based Bunge North America. Like so
many corporations that promise good jobs to get what they want, EGT got a
special state tax exemption and a sweetheart lease deal from the Port of
Longview to build a $200 million grain terminal there. The government even
seized adjacent land for the project. But as soon as the deal's ink was
dry and the ceremonial first shovel of dirt was overturned two years ago,
EGT began running the project on the cheap.

Despite high unemployment in Cowlitz County and the availability of
hundreds of skilled union building trades workers, EGT imported the vast
majority of its construction crews from low-wage communities out-of-state
and did not pay area standard wages, leading to howls from the local labor

After the terminal was built, EGT decided to ignore the Port of Longview's
contract with ILWU Local 21 to hire union labor on its leased site.
Instead, the multinational conglomerate hired non-union workers — claiming
it would save the company $1 million a year (a figure the company later
admitted had been plucked from the sky) — and EGT sued the Port, arguing
it was not bound by the contract with the ILWU.

For months, ILWU picketed EGT and attempted to pressure the company to
negotiate with the union. Those protests gradually grew in size as EGT
refused to meet with the union, culminating in a major rally on June 3,
when more than 1,000 ILWU supporters from Washington to California rallied
outside EGT's headquarters in downtown Portland. The protest was loud, but

The dispute escalated at a July 11 protest outside the EGT terminal in
Longview, when members tore down a chain-link gate and stormed the EGT
grain terminal. About 100 union dock workers, including union leaders,
were cited and arrested.

"We are going to fight for our jobs in our jurisdiction. We have worked
this dock for 70 years, and to have a big, rich corporation come in and
say, 'We don't want you,' is a problem," ILWU 21 President Dan Coffman
told the (Longview) Daily News. "We're all together. We're all going to
jail as a union."

On July 14, hundreds of union dock workers crowded onto railroad tracks to
block a train from delivering grain to the EGT terminal. The Daily News
reported that the 107-car train was rerouted to Vancouver following the
standoff, which prompted Burlington Northern Santa Fe to indefinitely
suspend train traffic to the grain terminal for safety reasons.

"By far this is the most intense labor event that I can remember," Cowlitz
County Sheriff Mark Nelson told the Daily News. But he said he understands
what the union is trying to accomplish even though he didn't agree with
its tactics. "Bless their hearts. These are our neighbors, too. These are
our folks. This is our community."

EGT was feeling the heat, and community support for the local ILWU workers
was growing as more people learned the facts of the dispute.

Then the company made a surprise announcement that it would hire a
unionized subcontractor to run the terminal. EGT signed an agreement with
Federal Way-based General Construction Co., a subsidiary of Kiewit, to
operate the terminal with union members from the Portland-based
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701.

The Washington State Labor Council condemned EGT's attempt to pit union
members against each other.

"EGT, a Japanese multinational corporation that has received tax breaks
from our state to build this grain elevator, has thumbed its nose at the
members of ILWU Local 21 and is trying to pit workers against workers,
local unions against local unions. This is unacceptable," said WSLC
President Jeff Johnson (pictured at left at a July 24 rally). "The work at
the Port of Longview is longshore work and we need to come together as
community and labor and say 'no' to EGT — 'you will not disrespect labor
in Longview or anywhere else in our state'."

There have been numerous incidents provoked by EGT's union-vs.-union
arrangement. Most recently, a contractor drove right through the ILWU
picket line on Aug. 29 and struck two ILWU members who, fortunately, were
not seriously injured. Although the contractor was not cited or arrested
for the vehicular assault, an angry ILWU picketer was arrested for
allegedly damaging the next vehicle that attempted to cross the picket
line, a charge based on video surveillance provided by an EGT security

The next day, the National Labor Relations Board announced it was seeking
a court order to end "aggressive picketing" at the EGT facility and allow
Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains to deliver grain to the facility. Such
an order was issued last week, according to Rich Ahearn, director of the
NLRB's Seattle office.

Which brings us to yesterday, Sept. 7.

Some 400 ILWU members stood on the railroad tracks to block a train from
delivering grain to the terminal for about four hours, but the train
passed through after protesters were confronted by 50 police officers in
riot gear. ILWU President Robert McEllrath, who attended the protest, was
detained by police, escalating tensions between protesters and officers.
In the confrontation that ensued, police beat protesters away with clubs
and pepper spray.

ILWU President Robert McEllrath is detained by police Sept. 7. Click to
enlarge and see photo credit.

Ultimately, McEllrath returned to urge members to end the standoff.

"You can get maced and tear-gassed and clubbed (today)" or wait for
longshore support from all over the West Coast when the next train tries
to enter the EGT terminal, McEllrath reportedly told protesters after he
met with police. "If we leave here, it doesn't mean that we gave up and
quit. It means we're coming back."

All but 16 of the protesters returned to the union hall; the 16 who
refused were arrested for trespassing.

Early this morning, hundreds of ILWU members and their supporters
reportedly stormed the EGT terminal at the Port of Longview, broke down
the gates, overpowered security guards, damaged railroad cars, and dumped
grain, according to Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha. Initial reports
indicated no one was hurt and nobody has been arrested. After a few hours,
the protesters returned to their union hall.

So that's where we stand, as of this writing.

To sum up: a taxpayer-subsidized international conglomerate, which is
operating on public property, is suing the public so it can avoid paying
the area's standard wages and undercut its competitors that do. Then, it
exacerbated tensions with the local labor community by importing union
workers from another jurisdiction to cross the picket lines.

That's why ILWU members are angry, and that's why this is about more than
just 50 jobs in Longview.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated that the Oregon
AFL-CIO had weighed in on EGT's effort to pit unions against each other.
That state federation has taken no position in this dispute. A resolution
previously approved by the Oregon AFL-CIO was ruled out of order by the
national AFL-CIO.

Short URL:

[olympiaworkers] Federal injunction issued as Longshoremen storm Longview port

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge ordered union protesters to stop
using illegal tactics Thursday as they battle for the right to work at a
new grain terminal in Washington state.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton issued a preliminary injunction to
restrict union activity, saying there was no defense for the aggressive
tactics used in recent days. Protesters twice blocked the pathway of a
train carrying grain to the terminal at the Port of Longview on Wednesday,
and early Thursday morning hundreds of them stormed the facility,
overwhelmed guards, dumped grain and broke windows, police said.
[This is the labor movement at its most radical and militant. Inspiring &

The dispute halted work at four other Washington ports, including Seattle,
on Thursday as hundreds of longshoremen refused to show up or walked off
the job.

Leighton said he felt like a paper tiger because the International
Longshore and Warehouse Union clearly ignored a temporary restraining
order he issued last week with similar limits. He scheduled a hearing for
next Thursday to determine whether the union should be held in civil

"The regard for the law is absent here," the judge said. "Somebody is
going to be hurt seriously."

Six guards were trapped for a couple of hours after at least 500
Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the
guard shack, Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said. He initially referred
to the guards as "hostages," but later retracted that after the guards
clarified no one had threatened them.

"The guards absolutely could not get out," Duscha said. "They feared for
their lives because of the size of the crowd and the hostility of the

No one was hurt, and nobody has been arrested - although Duscha said that
could change if police are able to use surveillance video or other means
to identify the protesters.

Most of the protesters returned to their union hall after cutting train
brake lines and spilling grain from a car at the EGT terminal, Duscha
said. They also pushed a private security vehicle into a ditch.

The union believes it has the right to work at the facility, but the
company has hired a contractor that's staffing a workforce of laborers
from another union, the Portland-based Operating Engineers Local 701.
Representatives of the engineers union did not immediately return a call
seeking comment.

In Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Anacortes, hundreds of Longshore workers
failed to show up or walked off the job Thursday in apparent solidarity
with the Longview activists, halting work at those ports. Union leaders
said they had not called for any such actions.

"It appears the members have taken action on their own," said ILWU
spokesman Craig Merrilees from union headquarters in San Francisco.

He said some workers might have been motivated by a photograph of ILWU
President Bob McElrath in police custody in Longview on Wednesday.

McElrath was not arrested, but an Associated Press photo showed him being
grabbed by several police officers before union activists intervened and
grabbed him back.

Police arrested 19 protesters as they blocked railroad tracks on Wednesday
night, allowing the train to finally arrive at the terminal.

The protesters in Longview have portrayed themselves as being on the front
line in the struggle for jobs and benefits among American workers in an
economic downturn. But while union strife has flared up around the country
- most notably in Wisconsin - the aggressive tactics seen in Longview have
been a rarity in recent labor disputes.

Labor activists insist that after receiving tax breaks and promising to
create well-paying jobs at the new $200 million terminal, EGT initially
tried to staff the terminal with nonunion workers. Following a series of
protests by the Longshore workers this year, the company announced it
would hire a contractor staffed by workers from a different union.

"Today, the ILWU took its criminal activity against EGT to an appalling
level, including engaging in assault and significant property
destruction," the company's chief executive, Larry Clarke, said in a
written statement. "This type of violent attack at the export terminal has
been condemned by a federal court, and we fully support prosecution of
this criminal behavior to the fullest extent under the law.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Longshoremen storm Wash. state port, damage RR

Sept. 8, 2011 Associated Press

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview
early Thursday, overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad
cars, and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said
Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

Six guards were held hostage for a couple of hours after 500 or more
Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the
guard shack, he said.

No one was hurt, and nobody has been arrested. Most of the protesters
returned to their union hall after cutting brake lines and spilling grain
from car at the EGT terminal, Duscha said.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union believes it has the right
to work at the facility, but the company has hired a contractor that's
staffing a workforce of other union laborers.

Thursday's violence was first reported by Kelso radio station KLOG.

Police from several agencies in southwest Washington, the Washington State
Patrol and Burlington Northern Santa Fe responded to the violence to
secure the scene that followed a demonstration Wednesday.

"We're not surprised," Duscha said. "A lot of the protesters were telling
us this in only the start."

One sergeant was threatened with baseball bats and retreated, Duscha said.
"One officer with hundreds of Longshoremen? He used the better part of

The train was the first grain shipment to arrive at Longview. It arrived
Wednesday night after police arrested 19 demonstrators who tried to block
the tracks. They were led by ILWU International President Robert
McEllrath, who said they would return.

The blockade appeared to defy a federal restraining order issued last week
against the union after it was accused of assaults and death threats.

EGT chief executive Larry Clarke said it was unfortunate that law
enforcement needed to make arrests.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

[olympiaworkers] Poisoned Chinese Workers Demand Action from Apple CEO Successor

by Debby Chan Talking Union

The poisoned workers at Wintek, an Apple supplier in Suzhou, China, have
been awaiting a response from Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple.
Regrettably, he had not responded before his resignation. The poisoned
workers hope the new Apple CEO, Tim Cook, will live up to its claim of
corporate social responsibility and provide them remedies.

Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) supports the
cause of the victims and calls on Tim Cook to address the grievances of
the poisoned workers and provide remedies for them.

The massive poisoning at Wintek is a serious breach of the labour law and
Apple's code of conduct. Corporate social responsibility is no more than
rhetoric if there is no remedy to the workers for the code infringement.
SACOM demands Apple under the leadership of Tim Cook has dialogue with the
workers as soon as possible.

A strike erupted at the Taiwanese-owned electronics manufacturer Wintek,
which produces touch screens for the iPhone, in early 2010. The rumour of
massive poisoning was confirmed by the local authorities after the strike.
According to the workers, about 200 of them were poisoned by the chemical
called n-hexane which leads to nerve damage. Apple only admitted the gross
labour rights violation in its Supplier Responsibility Progress Report one
year later. The company stated there were 137 workers hospitalized due to
the poisoning and that all of them had been successfully treated. In
reality, 2 years on after the poisoning, the workers still feel weak and
suffer from symptoms of relapse including sweaty hands and feet, and leg

Mr. Jia Jing-chuan, a former engineer at Wintek, confided that he remains
worried about his health even now. He spends about CNY 500-600 (USD
$78-94) for health supplements per month because he feels weak. Mr. Jia
has recently resigned from Wintek and is taking rest in his hometown.
"Steve Jobs was indifferent to our poisoning and evaded his
responsibility. The new CEO should live up to corporate social
responsibility. There should be policies to protect the poisoned workers
and pay the health expenditures for the victims. Our predicament is solely
inflicted by the negligence of Apple though we contribute so much to the
revenue of the company. I also call on Apple to reform its audit system to
prevent similar tragedy," said Mr. Jia angrily.

"I hope the new Apple CEO can assure the company will take care of our
health problems in the future," Mr. Guo Rui-qiang, another victim of the
poisoning, requested. Guo expressed bitterly that he has difficulties in
looking for a new job owing to his poor health condition. "Many jobs
require me to stand for long hours, but my health condition does not allow
me to perform standing-operations anymore," he added.

Debby Chan is Project Officer at SACOM (Students & Scholars Against
Corporate Misbehavior) in Hong Kong.