FOR RELEASE: January 13,
CONTACTS David Hess
The Oregon Progressive Party joins with Veterans for Peace, the Occupy
movement, and the 99% in condemning the forthcoming unprecedented use of the
U.S. Coast Guard as armed, strikebreaking mercenaries for the Dutch
international trading conglomerate Bunge Ltd. The U.S. Coast Guard will use two
or more of its armed ships, along with helicopters and its military personnel,
to escort an empty grain ship into the Port of Longview for Bunge.
The operation will occur sometime in January, but neither Bunge nor the Coast
Guard will reveal the date.
EGT LLC, which itself is a joint venture of Bunge North America
[headquarters at 101 SW Main in Portland], ITOCHU and STX Pan
Ocean, assisted by taxpayer funds, built a new $200 million terminal in
Longview. EGT has refused to abide by the port contract to hire ILWU longshore
workers and instead has hired scabs. ILWU has been picketing EGT, and this is
why protest will accompany the grain ship.
This is the first known use of the U.S. military to intervene in a labor
dispute since the 1970 Postal Strike, when President Nixon called out the Army
and National Guard in an (unsuccessful) attempt to break the strike. The use of
the Armed Forces against labor unions is the hallmark of a police state.
It is an outrage that American taxpayer dollars are to be used on behalf of a
foreign corporation for the purpose of busting an American union and destroying
American family-wage jobs.
Bunge is one of the largest grain traders in the world and has already broken
the dock workers' unions in Liverpool and New Orleans.
If EGT is successful in breaking the contract at Longview, it will have a
domino affect at other U.S. ports, encouraging other operators to break union
contracts and destroy middle-class jobs.
Members of ILWU Local 21 have clearly stated they are planning non-violent
acts of civil disobedience. Water pickets, people in small boats, have been used
peacefully and successfully for years by longshoremen, sailors, fishermen and
boatmen in this country.
We join the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council who have called
out to friends of labor and the "99%" everywhere to come to the aid of ILWU
Local 21 and support the non-violent actions.
The Oregon Progressive Party supports ILWU Local 21 and their struggle. We
demand that taxpayer funds not be used on behalf of foreign corporations for the
purpose of busting American Unions and destroying middle class jobs.
The Oregon Progressive Party also supports ILWU's First Amendment and
collective bargaining rights and urges all to support the nonviolent actions
being taken by ILWU Local 21 and the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central