Thursday, January 12, 2012

[olympiaworkers] Condemn Use of U.S. Military to Escort Scab Grain Ship in Longview, Washington

San Francisco Labor Council Resolution – Adopted Jan. 9, 2012 by unanimous

Condemn Use of U.S. Military to Escort Scab Grain Ship in Longview WA

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;

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);

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 San Francisco Labor Council 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 San Francisco Labor Council 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 Wall Street on
the Waterfront;

And be it finally Resolved, that the Council circulate this resolution to
affiliated unions, Bay Area labor councils, the California Labor
Federation, as well as labor bodies in Oregon and Washington, for
concurrence and action, and urge labor leaders including Richard Trumka
and Mary Kay Henry to take a strong stand against this brazen assault on
our labor rights and civil liberties.

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