Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Longview (WA) ILWU Strike Update, September 21,

Law enforcement personnel wrestle ILWU Local 21 longshoreman Kelly Muller to the ground as they arrest protesters and try to clear the tracks so a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe grain train can pull in to the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. A dozen officers in riot gear stood guard along the tracks as a grain train finally entered the terminal. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 President Dan Coffman says two Longshore officers and about 10 wives and mothers of Longshore workers were arrested. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Bill Wagner)

LONGVIEW, Wash. – Union members upset they are being shut out of work at a grain terminal in Longview tried to block a train from reaching the port on Wednesday morning, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Grover Laseke said the train was heading for the grain terminal at the Port of Longview when protesters tried to block its path. Several people were arrested for criminal trespass and obstructing a train.

The train eventually arrived at the terminal around 11 a.m. and was unloaded under heavy security.

Two union officers and about 10 of the women were detained, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 President Dan Coffman said in a statement. Coffman was among those involved despite a judge's repeated orders that the union not block entrance to the site.

The union claims some of the people arrested were hit with pepper spray.

200 Wash. union workers challenge sheriff to arrest them

Union protesters arrested at Port of Longview, Washington

Ten of the demonstrators, including the wives and mothers of some port workers, were detained on charges of criminal trespass and obstructing a train, said Jerusha Kasch, a spokeswoman for the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office.

Among those 10 was Dan Coffman, president of the International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21, the union said.

Two more protesters who scuffled with police were pepper-sprayed and arrested on a felony charge of assaulting a police officer, the union and police said.

Note how Reuters union-bashes:

One of those two also faced a felony harassment charge stemming from a September 16 confrontation at the port in which he was accused of threatening to sexually assault a family member of a deputy who was arresting another individual, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

ILWU Local 21 Vice President Jake Whiteside said the confrontation began after about a dozen protesters, nine of them women from the union's "ladies auxiliary," walked out onto the railroad tracks and sat down, prompting police to move in.

"The police were getting rough with an elderly lady they were arresting," and two fellow demonstrators ended up getting pepper-sprayed when they intervened and "let their emotions get the best of them," Whiteside said.

Reading this one might think that Whiteside was confirming the robustly dubious accusation that a longshoreman threatened to rape a cop's relative as the latter was in the act of arresting women strikers. He doesn't in this context nor in any other. He's confirmed that the two did scuffle with police, not that either threatened to rape anybody.

And, as usual, it's not just the the press that's working to undermine the strikers.

Three union members arrested less than 48 hours after Sheriff rejects peaceful surrender at courthouse

LONGVIEW, WA (September 18, 2011) — Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson on Friday rejected the peaceful surrender of 200 union longshore workers who waited for 45 minutes outside his office, and instead has continued his campaign of pursuing and arresting union members in front of children and families. At least one of the workers arrested today was forced to leave two minors unaccompanied at home while he was led away by law enforcement.

“Sheriff Mark Nelson watched from his office window as 200 union members offered themselves up for peaceful surrender, and instead prefers to waste taxpayer dollars on made-for-TV arrests in front of children,” said Dan Coffman, President of Local 21. “The sheriff’s actions are an unnecessarily heavy-handed and costly handling of misdemeanors for citizens who were exercising their First Amendment rights by peacefully standing on rural railroad tracks on the afternoon of September 7.”

Two hours after standing front and center at the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice offering peaceful arrest on misdemeanor charges, ILWU Local 21 Vice President Jake Whiteside was chased by four law enforcement officers and arrested in a church parking lot, handcuffed and led away in front of several children. Longshoremen Cary Brister and Lowell Lovegren were arrested this morning after having also presented themselves at the courthouse for arrest on Friday.

Letter: ‘Sheriff department misrepresents facts’

To get justice, those ILWU members had to hire their own attorney to prosecute the driver. I have to ask you: if your son was walking in the Safeway parking lot and was ran over by someone intentionally, would that person have to hire an attorney to help prosecute the driver? Would law enforcement answer his calls for help? If he were an ILWU member, the answer would be, “Get your own attorney. We have no intentions of answering your call.”

The sheriff department has misrepresented what has happened many times, including saying they were maced by ILWU members when in fact they missed and maced each other. You cannot believe Mark Nelson’s department. I partially blame the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department for the explosion at the port. If they handled the situation correctly and fairly, the level of frustration would not have reached that point.

IWW Resolution in Solidarity with ILWU Local 21, Longview, Washington
Posted Sun, 09/18/2011 - 11:03pm by Editor
Passed by the IWW General Executive Board, September 18, 2011:

On behalf of our entire union, the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World salutes you for your strong stance against union busting in the Port of Longview.

Now, the state forces are starting to be used to break your struggle. We think now is not the time to back off. Around the world, from Egypt to Greece, the workers' movement is starting to rise up. The recent struggle against union busting in Wisconsin and your struggle in Longview shows that US workers are fed up too. We think that many thousands of workers throughout the West Coast are prepared to join in with you and show that together, we can put a stop to union busting, regardless of what the courts say.

If this means returning to the methods of the 1930s, including work place occupations and mass pickets that back down to nobody, then so be it.

We in the Industrial Workers of the World will do all in our power to help in your struggle.