"About three dozen Occupy protesters brandished banners and passed out leaflets Monday on a key arterial leading to Port of Tacoma, but didn’t attempt to halt commerce at the port’s terminals," the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) blog The Biz Buzz reported Monday. -- "Longshoreman Pete Adler, who joined the protesters briefly on the overpass, said he was pleased that they had opted for an informational effort," John Gillie said. -- "He and other longshore workers met with Occupy Tacoma protesters weeks ago to suggest alternatives to blocking terminal entrances." -- "'We [are] distributing information that isn’t available in the major media,' said Occupy protester Sallie Shawl." -- Sallie Shawl is right: you'll never understand this story by reading the News Tribune. -- So here's some BACKGROUND from WSWS (Sept. 10) on "a protest in Longview, Washington, against a newly built grain terminal run by the company EGT, which, backed by the federal government, is seeking to cut labor costs by bringing in outside workers." -- "EGT is seeking to establish the ability to hire non-ILWU workers on the West Coast docks for the first time in 80 years," Joseph Kishore said. -- "The conflict at EGT is . . . seen as a test case in a campaign to cut jobs and push through concessions in contract discussions between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association in 2014." -- "The conflict between EGT and the longshoremen has been building over the past several months, as EGT prepares to open the $200 million terminal in the spring." -- "The federal government, through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has intervened aggressively on the side of EGT." -- A week later, WSWS's Hector Cordon noted that "EGT is a joint venture between Japan-based Itochu, St. Louis-based Bunge North America, and Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean. It is the largest export grain terminal on the West Coast and is the only one built in North America since 1987. Designed with state-of-the-art automation to minimize labor and transportation costs, the facility is expected to handle four 100-car trains simultaneously. Only 50 workers will be required to run the entire operation, and about 15 of those will be administrative." -- WSWS sees the current struggle as parf of "a concerted effort, led by the federal government along with EGT, to destroy all the gains made by longshoremen since the bloody struggles of the 1930s. The federal government, through the NLRB, along with the courts and local police has made clear its intent to crush any resistance to the destruction of wages, working conditions and benefits." -- WSWS is critical that "the ILWU refuses to mobilize its membership in job actions to defend Port of Longview dockworkers. The actions of the union are determined by its political alliance with the Democratic Party." -- "The NLRB is pursuing charges of unfair labor practices against the ILWU which, if upheld, will effectively end the dispute in EGT’s favor," Corton said. -- But in October, "U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that the port's working agreement with union longshore workers applies at the EGT grain terminal," the Daily News (Longview, WA) reported. -- "However, he stopped short of saying it obligates EGT to hire members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union," Erik Olson said. -- "In effect, he kicked the issue down the road, saying the matter should be put to a federal labor arbitrator." -- On Monday, Olson reported in another Daily News article, "About 100 Occupy protesters shut down the Port of Longview on Monday morning, blocking a roadway and chanting support for union longshoremen in their labor dispute at the EGT grain terminal." -- "A Longview police officer watched from across the street, but the demonstration was peaceful. Only two ships were in port, and port officials hoped to resume servicing them Monday night." -- "[T]he Occupy protests . . . have brought nationwide attention to Local 21's dispute with EGT," Olson noted....
The Biz Buzz
OCCUPY MOVEMENT PROTEST PEACEFUL AT PORT OF TACOMA
By John Gillie
News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
December 12, 2011
About three dozen Occupy protesters brandished banners and passed out leaflets Monday on a key arterial leading to Port of Tacoma, but didn’t attempt to halt commerce at the port’s terminals.
Occupy Tacoma participants said they wanted to show solidarity with Longshore Union workers seeking a contract with a new grain terminal in Longview and with non-union truck container truck drivers asking for higher wages at Southern California ports.
Occupy protester Sarah Morken said she came to the port Monday noon to support workers’ efforts for better wages and working conditions, but not to alienate the truckers and others whose work lives would have been disrupted if Occupy tried to halt work at the port.
Not all Occupy port protests Monday were as non-confrontational as Tacoma’s. In Long Beach, Calif, police squared off with protesters who attempted to block a road leading to a terminal.
In Portland, police initially confronted some 200 protesters near a terminal entrance Monday, but stood aside and let protesters march to the terminal entrance. The port there closed two of its four terminals Monday. It told 200 workers to go home because of concerns for their health and safety.
In Longview, the site of violent demonstrations earlier this year against Export Grain Terminals, port officials shut down Monday because of safety concerns.
In Tacoma, protesters displayed slogans on the Port of Tacoma Road overpass over the Route 509 freeway. Both roads serve the port.
Those banners drew periodic honks of support from truckers headed to and from port container terminals.
Among the messages on those banners were: “Corporate Greed Sucks,” “Tax the Rich,” and “Occupy Tacoma Supports Port Workers.”
Some Occupy protesters distributed literature to truckers lined up waiting to enter port container terminals.
“We [are] distributing information that isn’t available in the major media,” said Occupy protester Sallie Shawl. “Not everyone has access to a computer like we do to see what’s going on at some of the ports,” she said.
Occupy Tacoma resident Amy Spicer said she didn’t want to stop workers from getting to their jobs especially since neither of the companies with which Occupy has its biggest beefs, terminal operator SSA Marine and EGT, have no operations in Tacoma.
SSA Marine of Seattle is the nation’s largest terminal operator. It is partially owned by Goldman Sachs, an investment firm that [is] a principal target of the Occupy movement.
Longshoreman Pete Adler, who joined the protesters briefly on the overpass, said he was pleased that they had opted for an informational effort.
He and other longshore workers met with Occupy Tacoma protesters weeks ago to suggest alternatives to blocking terminal entrances.
One of their suggestions was to mount a protest on the Port of Tacoma overpass, he said.
The union, which is sympathetic with many of Occupy’s objectives of spreading the wealth among a broader sweep of workers, asked the movement to let the union control any demonstrations that would impact their jobs.
“We told them it would be counterproductive to keep people away from their jobs,” he said.
Although a larger protest didn’t emerge, port and local law enforcement officials appeared to be prepared.
A half-dozen port and city patrol cars were stationed around the Tideflats Monday monitoring activities. A mobile sign at the Port of Tacoma Business Center office building warned that those not on official business there would be towed. The office is less than a block from the Route 509 bridge where the protest occurred.
“The Occupy protesters have been very transparent and straightforward here,” said Port of Tacoma spokeswoman Tara Mattina. “I think they realize that were all here trying to create more family-wage jobs.”
WILDCAT STRIKES SHUT DOWN WASHINGTON DOCKS FOR ONE DAY
By Joseph Kishore
September 10, 2011
Wildcat strikes shut down ports in Seattle, Tacoma, and Anacortes, Washington on Thursday. The actions came at the same time as a protest in Longview, Washington against a newly built grain terminal run by the company EGT, which, backed by the federal government, is seeking to cut labor costs by bringing in outside workers.
Thousands of workers throughout the U.S. Pacific Northwest were involved in Thursday's solidarity actions, which were not called by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Some of these workers joined the hundreds in Longview who stormed the grain terminal run by EGT, allegedly dumping some grain cargo off of a train inside the facility.
On Wednesday, in Vancouver, Washington, workers had attempted to block the same train from proceeding toward the terminal. Workers were confronted by a heavy presence of police, decked in riot gear and employing truncheons and tear gas. Nineteen workers were arrested in the protests.
These actions follow a long-running dispute between the ILWU and EGT, a joint venture between Bunge Ltd and Itochu Corporation. EGT had sought to hire non-union workers to operate the new facility and has now employed a contractor using labor from another union, General Construction and Operating Engineers Local 701.
Apart from the rivalry between the unions over dues -- a principal concern of the union officials involved in the dispute -- the conflict takes place against the backdrop of a determined attack by shipping companies and terminal operators against longshoremen. EGT is seeking to establish the ability to hire non-ILWU workers on the West Coast docks for the first time in 80 years.
During its earlier negotiations with the ILWU, EGT had sought contractual conditions that would have forced workers to accept 12-hour shifts with no overtime, along with other concessions. The conflict at EGT is also seen as a test case in a campaign to cut jobs and push through concessions in contract discussions between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association in 2014.
The federal government, through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has intervened aggressively on the side of EGT, filing a court case backing the company and seeking to criminalize any organized opposition to its business operations.
The conflict between EGT and the longshoremen has been building over the past several months, as EGT prepares to open the $200 million terminal in the spring. In January, EGT filed a lawsuit before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Leighton against the Port of Longview. The company is insisting that it is not bound by contractual provisions restricting employment at the dock to workers in the ILWU.
In the summer, EGT moved to hire non-union workers (a total of 50 will ultimately work at the facility), saying that it would save $1 million a year by doing so. Then in July, following a series of protests, it announced that it was using a sub-contractor employing the workers from the GCOE, based in Portland. EGT also broke off all negotiations with the ILWU.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), the principal freight railroad company transporting grain to the port, announced in July that it was suspending operations indefinitely after one of its trains was blocked by workers. The protests this week erupted after workers found out that another train was heading to the EGT terminal.
U.S. District Court Judge Leighton, siding with EGT and the NLRB, has issued a series of injunctions prohibiting efforts to block grain shipments. The most recent ruling, announced on Thursday, granted a permanent injunction prohibiting workers from blocking rail lines and impeding business in any way. The NLRB had sought to ban picketing outright, which the judge declined to do.
"The regard for the law is absent here," Leighton declared. "Somebody is going to be hurt seriously," he added ominously.
The injunctions against picketing are part of a pending case filed by the NRLB accusing the ILWU of unfair labor practices. If the complaint is upheld in a hearing scheduled for October 11, it will effectively end the dispute on the side of EGT.
Among other charges, the NLRB has accused workers of being "violent and aggressive." In fact, the only injuries so far occurred when a contractor drove through a picket line late last month, hitting two workers. No one was charged in that incident, caught on video. One worker on the picket line, however, was arrested immediately afterward.
In the court filing, NLRB Regional Director Richard Ahearn also wrote that the court should rule against the workers because they had "induced or encouraged individuals employed by EGT and other persons… to refuse to handle or work on goods and/or refuse to perform services"--i.e., the most basic tactics involved in any labor dispute.
The ultimate aim of both the government and the corporations is to significantly reduce the wages and benefits of longshoremen as part of the campaign against the living conditions of the working class as a whole.
The intervention of the NLRB came at the same time as the Obama administration, through the FBI, opened an investigation into unsubstantiated charges that workers involved in the two-week-long strike at Verizon last month engaged in violent "sabotage."
The principal concern of the ILWU in the dispute is the preservation of its dues base and control over the docks. The union, which has sought to adopt a "left" posture, including a one-day strike against the Iraq War in 2008, is committed to its political alliance with the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.
In the current dispute, the ILWU has sought to fan nationalist sentiment, portraying the struggle against EGT as a battle against foreign multinational corporations, even though the principal company in the joint venture, Bunge, is based in the United States.
In the last major conflict between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, during contract negotiations in 2002, the PMA responded to an alleged slowdown by the workers with a lockout. The Bush administration backed the PMA, invoking the Taft-Hartley Act against the workers.
The ILWU ultimately agreed to the major demands of the PMA, including the hiring of non-union workers in clerical positions related to the introduction of new technologies.
Two years later, in the summer of 2004, the ILWU reached an agreement with the PMA to hire 3,000 "casual" workers, part of a strategy by the shipping companies to increase the proportion of workers with uncertain hours and fewer rights.
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS WASHINGTON DOCKWORKERS UNION IN CONTEMPT
By Hector Cordon
September 17, 2011
Through court actions and arrests, the state is escalating its campaign against longshoremen protesting efforts by a company in Washington to undermine their wages and hire non-union labor.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton has ruled Longview, Washington Local 21 of the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in contempt of court for defying a temporary restraining order he issued September 1. At that time he ordered the union to cease blocking trains entering the port terminal.
The ILWU has been engaged in a long-running dispute with grain exporter EGT Development, which has completed construction of a $200 million terminal at the Port of Longview.
Thursday’s ruling arose out of a September 8 request by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to find the union in contempt for actions taken by Local 21 members and supporters last week. It has also sought, along with lawyers for EGT, a ban on all picketing as well as fines against the union.
An attempt in Vancouver, Washington to block a train heading toward the terminal proved unsuccessful. A similar effort to stop the same train once it reached the port entrance in Longview was suppressed by police in riot gear who were armed with tear gas and rifles loaded with rubber bullets. Nineteen protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing. The next morning several hundred workers and supporters allegedly entered the port’s terminal grounds and dumped grain from the train cars.
DOCKWORKERS ON STRIKE
That same day thousands of dockworkers in the Northwest took action in a wildcat strike, shutting down ports in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Anacortes, Washington, in solidarity with the struggle in Longview. (See, “Wildcat strikes shut down Washington docks for one day” [#2 above].)
Judge Leighton responded to this by announcing that he was modifying his restraining order to make it permanent and extending it to the entire ILWU and all shipping. He warned, “The regard for the law is absent here. Somebody is going to be hurt seriously.”
Leighton’s order also prohibited “picket line violence, threats, and property damage.” However, the only injuries incurred so far resulted from a contractor driving through the picket line injuring two workers. Police ignored the driver, although a picketer was arrested immediately afterwards.
The NLRB is pursuing charges of unfair labor practices against the ILWU which, if upheld, will effectively end the dispute in EGT’s favor. A hearing is to be held October 11 on those charges in Judge Leighton’s courtroom.
On Monday, Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson announced the arrest of two persons in connection with the invasion of port property and dumping of grain. A union longshoreman was arrested on suspicion of four felony charges, including intimidation of a witness and sabotage, while a woman was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor charges. The sheriff stated that more arrests will be forthcoming. On Thursday, six additional people were arrested on misdemeanor suspicions.
The conflict, now entering its ninth month, centers on the refusal of EGT to hire ILWU members to run its facility. EGT has filed a lawsuit against the port contending that its contract with the port allows it to hire non-union labor. Following a number of protests in July, EGT hired a contractor employing workers from General Construction and Operating Engineers Local 701.
EGT is a joint venture between Japan-based Itochu, St. Louis-based Bunge North America, and Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean. It is the largest export grain terminal on the West Coast and is the only one built in North America since 1987. Designed with state-of-the-art automation to minimize labor and transportation costs, the facility is expected to handle four 100-car trains simultaneously. Only 50 workers will be required to run the entire operation, and about 15 of those will be administrative.
Judge Leighton’s action is part of a concerted effort, led by the federal government along with EGT, to destroy all the gains made by longshoremen since the bloody struggles of the 1930s. The federal government, through the NLRB, along with the courts and local police has made clear its intent to crush any resistance to the destruction of wages, working conditions and benefits.
Longshoremen in Longview spoke to the WSWS about their struggle. Because of a union prohibition on speaking to the media, picketers asked to remain anonymous.
One worker said, “It’s just corporate greed. Even its huge $2.4 billion profit is just from their West Coast operations.”
Another worker stated, “I figured it would happen. They violated the contract they originally signed with the port. There was conflict from day one.”
A third said, “They are planning on operating as if they already won.”
The determined opposition of port workers to these attacks has been amply demonstrated by the ongoing struggles against EGT. In particular, the wildcat strikes that shut down several ports in the Northwest show the willingness of these workers to fight.
In contrast to this militancy, the ILWU refuses to mobilize its membership in job actions to defend Port of Longview dockworkers. The actions of the union are determined by its political alliance with the Democratic Party and its support for the capitalist system. As is clear from the initial response of the state, any serious and sustained mobilization of workers to defend their jobs and living conditions would come into immediate conflict with the federal government and pose a struggle against the Obama administration.
The ILWU has been a strong backer of Obama. Acknowledging the growing anger among broad sections of the working class, ILWU President Bob McEllrath recently declared that Obama has “proven to be a disappointment.” This is a gross distortion of Obama’s role. His administration has spearheaded savage attacks on the working class, from autoworkers to teachers, while handing trillions of dollars to the banks. The NLRB, which is seeking to criminalize Longview port workers, is headed by Obama appointee and labor lawyer Mark Pearce.
In addition, the agreement just signed by the ILWU with West Coast grain elevator operators limits the contract to one year. This will allow the elevator operators to demand any concessions won by EGT earlier than the normal two-year contract would permit.
JUDGE DENIES EGT REQUEST FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, SENDS MATTER TO ARIBTRATOR
By Erik Olson
Daily News (Longview, WA)
October 8, 2011
The Port of Longview and longshore union won an important round in their ongoing battle with the EGT grain terminal Friday, but a decision about whether the union is legally entitled to work there still is months away.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that the port's working agreement with union longshore workers applies at the EGT grain terminal. However, he stopped short of saying it obligates EGT to hire members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
In effect, he kicked the issue down the road, saying the matter should be put to a federal labor arbitrator.
The port and union claimed victory Friday because Leighton rejected EGT's claim that the working agreement had no bearing on its contract with the port to build the $200 million grain terminal on port land.
"It certainly is a high-five moment for the port and the ILWU," port attorney Frank Randolph said.
In an 11-page ruling, Leighton wrote: "The parties were acutely aware of the Working Agreement, and of the Port's belief that it established union longshore jurisdiction over the property to be leased — both on the docks and on the land side of the facility."
Leighton rejected EGT's request for summary judgment based on its claim that its contract with the port does not obligate it to hire the ILWU. Had Leighton granted that request, the matter would have been settled Friday in EGT's favor.
EGT attorneys have not said if they plan to ask for reconsideration or appeal. They argue that the working agreement violates federal labor laws by forcing the company to recognize a union before it even hired employees. The company has hired Federal Way-based union contractor General Construction Co. to staff the terminal with union operating engineers based out of Gladstone, Ore.
"Our position has always been that we are not required to hire ILWU workers, and Judge Leighton's ruling does not obligate us to do so. Additionally, we believe that application of the port's Working Agreement violates federal labor law. We are confident that further consideration of this case will support our position," EGT CEO Larry Clarke said in a written statement.
EGT sued the port in January, arguing that the company was not bound by the port's working agreement with the ILWU.
Leighton put the resolution of the matter in the hands of an arbitrator, who could decide by the end of the year whether the union can legally have labor jurisdiction at EGT under the National Labor Relations Act, Randolph said.
At a hearing in Tacoma last week, Leighton criticized the port and EGT for leaving the contract language on labor so muddy and confusing. In the end, the text of the working agreement was included within the contract, but EGT attorneys argued the language was only referenced the agreement and did not bind the company.
Instead, Leighton agreed with port attorneys that the court must determine the intent of the labor agreement, likely after a ruling from the arbitrator.
"Despite EGT's suggestions to the contrary, the Court's primary purpose is to ascertain and give effect to the parties' intent" in writing the contract, Leighton wrote.
ILWU officials praised Leighton's ruling in a written statement, noting their members have worked in other West Coast grain terminals for decades.
"EGT is trying to disrupt the positive relationship that the ILWU has in every other grain terminal, and EGT's lawsuit against the Port of Longview shows that the company doesn't mind shifting more legal costs to Cowlitz County taxpayers," ILWU Coastal Committeeman Leal Sundet said.
EGT and the ILWU have been locked in a months-long fight over the 25 to 35 jobs at the terminal. Last week, Leighton fined the union $250,000 for illegal picketing at the site, including mass blocking on rail tracks in front of incoming grain trains and vandalism at the terminal.
PORT OF LONGVIEW DEMONSTRATION LEADS TO WORK STOPPAGE
By Erik Olson
Daily News (Longview, WA)
December 12, 2011
About 100 Occupy protesters shut down the Port of Longview on Monday morning, blocking a roadway and chanting support for union longshoremen in their labor dispute at the EGT grain terminal.
Occupy protesters declared victory at the port's main entrance on East Port Way in the shadow of the Lewis and Clark Bridge. They called ports a coastwide a tool for corporations to move goods and maintain their stranglehold on the middle class, while opponents questioned whether shutting down commerce was the movement's best tactic.
"We spoke up. They can afford to buy our politicians, but they can't buy our voice," said Paul Nipper, organizer of the Occupy Longview rally.
Union longshore leaders said the protest created a "health and safety" problem for dock workers trying to get to their jobs. The union negotiated with the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shippers, to pay about 20 longshore workers for four hours they didn't work, said Dan Coffman, president of the union's Longview-based Local 21.
Protesters did not block anyone from getting to work, and two cars did make it through their line at East Port Way. However, longshore workers simply did not attempt to get past them.
A Longview police officer watched from across the street, but the demonstration was peaceful. Only two ships were in port, and port officials hoped to resume servicing them Monday night.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union leaders have shied away from endorsing the Occupy movement despite obvious sympathy from protesters for their cause. The union could face more heavy fines for violating a federal court injunction prohibiting the union from impeding commerce at the port.
However, Coffman said he can't discourage individuals union members from participating in the Occupy protests, which have brought nationwide attention to Local 21's dispute with EGT.
"It's quite an amazing thing that people up and down West Coast know what's going on in Longview," he said.
A longshore labor leader brought Starbucks coffee to some demonstrators, who were out on the chilliest morning of the season. ILWU members also gave rides to protesters to the EGT terminal later in the morning.
Just before 10:00 a.m., the Occupy group moved their protest to East Mill Road outside the $200 million EGT grain terminal. Two port security vehicle were posted outside, but protesters did not attempt to block traffic, and the picket remained peaceful.
The protest started breaking up about 10:45 a.m. when about half the group boarded a bus to return to Portland. Organizers said the rest also planned to join the protest at the Port of Portland Monday afternoon.
Protesters gathered at 5:30 a.m. at the corner of Oregon Way and Industrial Way, then walked to the port's front gates. To the beat of two drummers, they walked in a clockwise circle repeating a variety of chants blasting capitalist greed and supporting unions.
"Occupy, shut it down, Longview is a union town!" went one cheer. Another went after financial institutions: "Banks got bailed out, people got sold out!"
Occupy organizers have stated the coastwide protest is not just about supporting organized labor, but the Longview gathering was dominated by union support. A handful of marchers wore ILWU sweatshirts, and three carried longshore union signs. Others carried signs to support unions for carpenters, laborers, food, and commercial workers and service employees.
Greg Cosmo, a Longview retired union carpenter, said he joined the protest because he was frustrated to see so many jobs for skilled trades workers leaving the area. As a retiree, Cosmo said he is doing okay, but he worries about lost opportunities for the next generation of carpenters.
"I'm one of the fortunate people that has a pension," he said.
Cosmo's wife, Suzanne, said most of the protesters from the Longview area were like her -- middle class and worried about their future.
"These are the people it's affecting now. When it affects everybody, it becomes a revolution," she said.
About half of the protesters traveled by bus from Portland and Vancouver, and the gathering largely broke up when they left.
Kris Humbird, 33, of Portland, said he wanted to come to Longview to support longshoremen and unions in general. Unemployed, Humbird was fired from his job at a call center earlier this year for what he said was attempts to unionize his workplace.
"I think it was right to show solidarity and sympathy to our fellow workers," Humbird said.
Outside EGT, union painter Robin White of Vancouver said the Occupy movement includes a wide cross-section of people who are difficult to categorize easily.
"That doesn't always come across in the mainstream media," he said.
White added that protesters weren't seeking to block access to EGT, having already achieved their goal to shut down the port.
"We're just here to poke them (EGT). We're just here to give them the message that we know they're here, and we know that they're bad neighbors. And we'll be back," White said.
However, Larry Clarke, CEO of EGT, said Occupy protesters are ignoring the fact the grain terminal operates with union labor because it doesn't fit with their "political narrative." EGT employs 25 to 35 union operating engineers from the Gladstone, Ore.-based Local 701 hall, which represents Cowlitz and Clark counties.
The ILWU asserts EGT is legally obligated to hire union dockworkers, a contention the company disputes.
The grain terminal, which will employ about 50 workers, is an economic boost for Longview, Clarke said.
"Disrupting port activities makes it harder for U.S. manufacturing, the farm community and countless others to sell to customers and contribute to our nation's economic recovery," Clarke said in a written statement.
The Operating Engineers also criticized the port shutdown, saying it hurts the local economies and middle class of port towns. However, the union supports the Occupy movement's overall goal to highlight income inequality, said Mark Holliday, the Local 701 business manager, in a written statement.
Port of Longview Commissioner Bob Bagaason, who drove past the protest on his way to the port's main office, said the shut down was not a positive move for Occupy movement.
"It's affecting everyday workers' jobs. It's shut them out of a job for a day. That can't be good for anybody," Bagaason said.
The Occupy group has given ports an undeserved black eye when they serve a vital role for cities on the waterfront, he said.
"Our job is to unload ship and to load ships. That's all we are, a service industry for the coast," Bagaason said.