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February 2012, Week 2

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Tue, 14 Feb 2012 19:31:51 -0500
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Longshore workers name Occupy Movement as crucial in
settlement with EGT

02/12/2012 
http://www.occupytheegt.org/

For Immediate Release

February 11, 2012

Longshore workers name Occupy Movement as crucial in
settlement with EGT

Coordinated action by West Coast Occupys proves effective as
ILWU Local 21 ratifies contract

Longview, WA -  On Friday, members of the ILWU and the labor
community named the Occupy Movement as key to the settlement
reached Thursday between ILWU Local 21 and the Export Grain
Terminal (EGT). The contract finally provides for the use of
ILWU labor in the grain terminal at the Port of Longview.
After staging the December 12 port shutdowns in solidarity
with Local 21, the West Coast Occupy Movement planned
coordinated action together with labor allies for a land and
water blockade of the EGT ship in Longview, should it attempt
to use scab labor to load. Occupys in states where EGT's
parent company Bunge has its growth and operations were also
planning actions against the company on the day of the
arrival of the ship.

"This is a victory for Occupy in their involvement in forcing
negotiations. Make no mistake - the solidarity and
organization between the Occupy Movement and the Longshoremen
won this contract," said Jack Mulcahy, ILWU officer with
Local 8. "The mobilization of the Occupy Movement across the
country, particularly in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, and
Longview were a critical element in bringing EGT to the
bargaining table and forcing a settlement with ILWU local
21."

"West Coast Occupys had already demonstrated their  ability
to stage such a blockade by shutting down ports along the
West Coast on December 12th, as well as the Port of Oakland
on November 2nd,"  said Anthony Leviege, ILWU Local 10 in
Oakland. The Occupy Movement shut down ports in order to
express solidarity with port truckers and Local 21, as well
as responding to a nationally-coordinated eviction campaign
against Occupy.

Negotiations progressed to the point where Longshore workers
began loading the merchant vessel Full Sources on Tuesday.
"When any company ruptures jurisdiction it is a threat to the
entire union. The union jobs wouldn't be back in Longview if
it weren't for Occupy. It's a win for the entire class of
workers in the Occupy Movement in demonstrating their
organizational skills," said Leviege.

"It is clear that the port shutdowns on November 2nd and
December 12th, and the impending mobilization in Longview, is
what made EGT come to the table. When Governor Gregoire
intervened a year ago nothing was settled - non-ILWU workers
were still working in the port. It wasn't until rank and file
and Occupy planned a mass convergence to blockade the ship
that EGT suddenly had the impetus to negotiate." said
Clarence Thomas, an officer of ILWU Local 10. "Labor can no
longer win victories against the employers without the
community. It must include a broad-based Movement. The
strategy and tactics employed by the occupy Movement in
conjunction with rank and file ILWU members confirm that the
past militant traditions of the ILWU are still effective
against the employers today."

EGT itself made evident the company's concern about Occupy's
role in the conflict in the January 27 settlement agreement:
"The ILWU Entities shall issue a written notice to The Daily
News and the general public, including the Occupy Movement,
informing them of this settlement and urging them to cease
and desist from any actions[...]."

"The Occupy Movement and rank-and-file unionists both within
and outside of our ranks have forced the company to settle,
but this is not over," says Jess Kincaid of Occupy Portland.
"Occupy doesn't sign contracts. We have not entered into any
agreements with EGT, nor do we intend to do so. EGT and its
parent company Bunge bribe the government for military
escorts, use slave labor in Brazil and systematically avoid
contributing anything to our social safety net in the US or
abroad. There is no ethic here beyond putting money back in
the pocket of the 1% at the cost of working people and the
sustainability of the earth."

"It was the brave action of members of Local 21 blocking the
train tracks this past summer that inspired the solidarity of
the Occupy Movement up and down the West Coast and around the
country. It was not until Occupy joined together with Local
21 and its labor allies that the company returned to the
table. Governor Gregoire did nothing but let EGT raid
Longshore Jurisdiction until Occupy responded to the call for
support," said Paul Nipper of Occupy Longview.

___________________________________________

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