Oregon Progressive Party Opposes Use of U.S. Coast Guard as Anti-Union Goons

by David Hess

FOR RELEASE: January 13, 2002


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 Labor Council.