Saturday, September 10, 2011

Koreanization hits American ports?

This kind of organized union violence and property damage — orchestrated in part online — is something you would expect to read about a Korean shipbuilding plant, not a port in Washington State:
Hundreds of angry longshoremen stormed through a grain shipping terminal in Longview, Wash., early Thursday and held security guards at bay while descending on a disputed train full of grain, cutting brake lines and dumping cargo.

The predawn labor protests came after a clash with police Wednesday in which hundreds of longshoremen blocked railroad tracks near Vancouver, Wash., to prevent grain cargo from reaching an export terminal 45 miles farther west. In that protest, they far outnumbered officers, pelting police with rocks and spraying them with pepper spray, police said.

There have been no serious injuries, but 19 protesters were arrested on charges of trespassing during the initial protests Wednesday.

Police were not present during Thursday's predawn action at the terminal, but they said six security guards were held inside a guard shack while protesters attacked the train, broke windows in the shack and pushed a private security vehicle into a ditch.

"Yesterday there were probably 300 or 400 of them. Today there was even more, and we were just outnumbered," Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said in an interview.

"At this point, we hear there are longshoremen coming down from the Seattle-Tacoma area to assist. When the longshoremen were leaving, they were saying they would be back, this was not over," he said.

The call for mobilization hit the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Facebook page Thursday morning: "Call out the troops, we're going on a road trip!" one union member wrote.
Hey, longshoremen's union, thanks for giving the anti-union Tea Party types ammo in the ideology wars about collective bargaining and labor movements.

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3 comments:

  1. I'm not surprised. Working conditions in the US are deteriorating and governments across the country are working to reduce protections for workers, including overtime and child labor protections. If they continue, we'll be pretty much where we were when the labor movement started, and violence was common on both sides.

    I think it's easy to forget that the labor movement is one that required a significant amount of blood. Longview's about an hour from Centralia, site of the Centralia Massacre. It's an hour and a half from Seattle, home of the first general strike, which was completely peaceful, but was followed up by violent attacks on the organizers. Seattle is also home to Boeing, which has just lost a ruling to their unions for retaliating against them. The labor movement isn't over, and it's become pretty clear that in American politics, radicals move the middle. That's not say I condone violence, but I recognize the effectiveness of radicalism and the frequent effectiveness of violence.

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  2. I wonder just how long it will be before other businesses in Washington decide to follow Boeing's example and start moving into right-to-work states like South Carolina and Texas due to this type of radicalism and violence? Oh, yeah, the high cost of doing business in Washington State doesn't help either.

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  3. The U.S. Postal Service is also in a world of hurt thanks to their unyeilding, and unfireable, union.

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