In the latest development of a more than year-long labor dispute in Vancouver, the National Labor Relations Board has accused picketers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4 of a multitude of horrific acts which include violence, threats of rape and implied harm to children, as well as racial slurs toward company security officers.
These acts, according to The Oregonian include the pinning of a security officer’s legs under a moving vehicle, blocking drivers’ vision and causing permanent eye injury to a security officer, reckless pursuit of company vans, as well as threatening a manager’s daughter with rape and “implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would ‘see his children at school’ and asking, ‘are (his) children okay today?'”
The labor dispute began in February 2013, when United Grain Corporation–a wheat exporter that runs a terminal in Vancouver, Washington–locked out 44 ILWU workers following six months of “fruitless negotiations” and after an ILWU member allegedly sabotaged the company’s equipment.
Since that time there have been charges and counter charges at the NLRB by both the Company and the union.
Last week, the NLRB’s regional director, Ronald Hooks, “accused United Grain of unfairly locking out union members and unjustly discharging longshoremen” while the union’s picketers engaged in their own egregious behavior.
After investigating charges filed by the company, Hooks alleged longshore picketers shone spotlights into vehicles entering and exiting United Grain’s terminal, blocking drivers’ vision and causing permanent eye injury to a security officer. Hooks alleged locked-out workers recklessly pursued company vans, threatened to harm Columbia River pilots and pinned a security officer’s leg under a moving vehicle.
Hooks alleged that Local 4 members “threatened to rape the daughter of one of the employer’s managers,” and implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would “see his children at school” and asking, “are (his) children okay today?”
In addition to the acts alleged by the NLRB, the union has used religious leaders to accuse the company of sins, “including the sin of ‘theft in stealing the right to work,’ the sin of ‘heartlessness in failing to acknowledge the humanity of their workers’ and the sin of “manipulation in hiring replacement workers who need the money.'”
This isn’t the only dispute the ILWU has been involved with in the last few years.
Back in 2011, about 100 ILWU members and their supporters tore down a chain link fence at the Port of Longview when EGT began using the members of the Operating Engineers to do work considered the ILWU’s work. In that dispute, the ILWU was found to be in contempt of court.
While the ILWU and the United Grain Corp. have engaged in some negotiations over the past year since the lockout began, there does not seem to be an end to the dispute in sight.