Originally published August 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Page modified August 31, 2011 at 1:35 PM

NLRB slams union for protests at Longview port

A federal board is accusing a longshore union of unfair labor practices during protests at a new grain terminal at the Port of Longview.

Associated Press



A longshore union has used death threats and physical assaults during protests at a new grain terminal at the Port of Longview, according to federal officials.

The National Labor Relations Board said in a complaint this week that picketers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have used unfair labor practices. The board wants the union to write a formal letter saying that it will not block rail shipments to the facility managed by EGT.

"Part of what is alleged here is that the union has been engaged in a variety of misconduct," said Richard Ahearn, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board. An October hearing is scheduled on the matter.

Members of ILWU Local 21 want EGT to use their workers, claiming they are entitled to the work through a contract with the Port of Longview and union jurisdiction. EGT has signed an agreement with another company, General Construction Co., which is staffing the terminal with other workers from a different union.

Protests have interrupted rail shipments at the new $200 million export terminal. The dispute has continued to escalate, with authorities arresting aggressive protesters at the site.

The new NLRB documents describe a July 11 incident in which the union tore down a gate, trespassed onto EGT property, pushed railcars out of a shed and climbed on them. The protesters physically and verbally assaulted employees at the site, according to the complaint.

A couple weeks later, on July 25, protesters spit on vehicles of General workers and threatened them with death. They also were involved with placing plastic bags filled with feces outside the administration building of the EGT facility, according to the complaint.

That same day, protesters assaulted the shop steward from Operating Engineers International Union, Local 701, which is now handling the work at the terminal.

An ILWU spokesman did not immediately provide a comment on the accusations.


Associated Press Writer Mike Baker can be reached at