EGT-Longview Longshore Contract - Worst Ever!

Report by members and retirees of ILWU Local 10, Local 8, and SF IBU
Published: 25/06/12

Danger!: ILWU Headed In Wrong Direction!

June 21, 2012

We, ILWU members and retirees, strongly oppose the newly negotiated EGT contract for Longshore Local 21 in Longview, WA. It heads our union in the wrong direction at the wrong time, caving into employer intimidation and greed just before we begin the Northwest Grainhandlers’ contract negotiations. And the 2014 Longshore Contract negotiations are just around the bend. We must give full all-out support to the ILA who are now facing tough bargaining on the East and Gulf Coasts. They gave us theirs. Unions and employers are looking closely at the EGT contract. Read it at www.transportworkers.org.

In April, the rank and file at the Portland Longshore Local 8 meeting challenged the union tops’ direction taken with EGT. Here are some of the fundamental union points they raised with International President McEllrath and Coast Committeman Sundet, who attended the meeting and directed the EGT campaign:

The historic gain of the ’34 Big Strike, the union hiring hall, was gutted. This contract completely surrenders a fair order of dispatch and allows the employer to establish their own lists, one for the ship and one for shoreside, and to fire any worker without cause. For the first time the slave labor Taft-Hartley Act, intended to destroy the union hiring hall and militant actions, has been codified into our contract. A sad first in our proud history of fighting Taft-Hartley!

For the first time ever this contract allows employers to do our work with superintendents and sub-contractors, i. e. scabs during 1) stop work meetings, 2) health and safety beefs, 3) bona fide picket lines! And to top it all off, 4) Bloody Thursday which we commemorate every year for the labor martyrs of the 1934 Maritime Strike killed by police by shutting down all West Coast ports!

The ILWU International claims a jurisdiction “victory“ at EGT. What victory? Local 701 Operating Engineers scabs are still working at EGT. If we take job action to kick out the scabs, we’re fired at the “sole discretion of the employer“. No arbitration. That point is emphasized 14 times in the 15 page document. So where’s longshore division jurisdiction that we supposedly won?! Our ship clerks were left out and so was IBU, our marine division, that backed us 100%.

After every successful contract negotiation there is always a “no reprisal“ or amnesty clause to protect members and officers that were on the front lines of the battle. In the EGT contract there is NO protection for our members who inspired workers across the country by their bold actions in defense of our union and now they’re going to jail while our union is facing big fines. Where are our “leaders“?

The employers can rip up the contract and hire scabs if longshore workers take 3 job actions like the ones that built our union in the first place or if we don’t pay a company-dictated fine of $1, 500 per hour of a work stoppage within 15 days.

Worst is that the membership of Longview Local 21 never even had a chance to read the contract first, then vote on it as the ILWU International Constitution guarantees. That violates the ILWU International Constitution (Article XIII Section 1. Agreements, Strikes, Lockouts and Boycotts). After leading the biggest labor struggle in years, Local 21 members were denied the most basic union right--the right to vote on their contract!

We, ILWU members and retirees, support the right of Local 21 members to vote on the EGT contract AFTER reading it. Until then, it should be declared null and void. Renegotiate it! This was not an agreement. It was an EGT dictat agreed to by the International and left to local officers to sign!

Local 10: Anthony Leviege #9576, Howard Keylor #20447 ret. , Richard Washington #9402, Leo Robinson #6461 ret. , Herb Mills #6251 ret. Sec. -Treasurer 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, Larry Wright #8534 ret. , Jack Heyman #8780 ret. ,

Local 8: Jack Mulcahy #82013, Chris Colie #80869 ret. , Delbert Green #81091 ret.

SF IBU: Steve Ongerth, Robert Irminger

(labor donated)