Longshore union faces the grain monopolies: Will labor solidarity prevail?
The Oregonian published an opinion piece by Jack Heyman — Longshore union faces the grain monopolies: Will labor solidarity prevail?. We are not publishing the whole text due to copyright issues, but we encourage readers to follow the link and check out the entire article. Rebuilding our unions and forming a new class-struggle leadership in the unions is essential. Our movement needs ro rediscover the values of class independence, solidarity and struggle that built our unions in the first place. We say: No Cuts! No Concessions!
Below we are excerpting some quotes from Heyman’s article. We also encourage people to read Heyman’s analysis of the ILWU contract at Longview, WA. — The ILWU Longshore Struggle in Longview and Beyond and the text of a leaflet issued by ILWU members and retirees — ILWU Headed In Wrong Direction: EGT-Longview Longshore Contract- Worst Ever!
Additional reading: Another Look at the “Battle of Longview” by David Walters
From the article By Jack Heyman:
- An “epic showdown” is looming because workers in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver won’t accept major concessions.
- The International Business Times reports “Big grain companies reap profits as global food prices soar and poor go hungry”
- The world’s four largest grain companies…collectively control 75 to 90 percent of global grain trade and are raking in billions during a worldwide food crisis, the story says.
- In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, grain monopolies are boasting record profits, yet they’re demanding major concessions from the longshoremen who do the dangerous work of loading ships. A year ago, members of the ILWU protested EGT’s attempt to break their union and impose concessions in Longview. Scores were arrested for blocking grain trains…
- In February, state police and an armed Coast Guard cutter were deployed to escort a grain ship through picket lines at EGT and stop mass protests by ILWU members, labor supporters and Occupy activists caravanning from Portland, the Bay Area and Puget Sound. Under the threat of overwhelming police and military forces, including from the Obama administration, union officials succumbed. The ranks succeeded in defending their union jurisdiction, but a hugely concessionary contract was imposed, brokered by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.
- Now in Portland, the ILWU is faced with an employer-imposed contract or lockout backed by a massive police and Coast Guard mobilization. And in Vancouver, a strikebreaking agency is already stationed at United Grain. Will intimidation by profiteering grain exporters and their government backers prevail, or will union solidarity and ILWU unity against EGT concessions win out?