Standoff at Longview docks

EVERETT — Longshoremen in Everett left the docks Thursday to support colleagues in Longview, who earlier in the day stormed their port, overpowered security guards, and dumped grain in a labor dispute.

“They want to phase out longshoremen,” said Steve Ritchie of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union in Everett. “They want to make everything automatic.”

Ritchie said the action in Everett was for one day.

“We went down to go to work on the ships, the yard and the Boeing barges,” he said. “Our employers canceled the day and they’re sitting with a mediator right now.”

Port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said longshoremen left about 1:30 a.m.

“We do have a ship in port and our cargo operations are shut down right now,” she said. The ship, the Westwood Rainier, is loading equipment for oil and gold mining operations in Russia, Lefeber said.

“It was supposed to leave tomorrow,” she said, adding, “We’re just kind of in a holding pattern right now.”

Another ship, the Tanir, is scheduled to arrive with cargo on Saturday. Grain doesn’t ship from Everett, but it does from Seattle, Tacoma, Aberdeen, Portland, Vancouver and Longview.

The work stoppage doesn’t affect the port’s marina or other operations.
Ritchie said longshoremen will meet in the Everett hall tonight “to discuss this.”
In Longview, hundreds of longshore workers stormed damaged railroad cars and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

Six guards were detained for a couple of hours after 500 or more Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, he said.

No one was hurt, and nobody has been arrested. Most of the protesters returned to their union hall after cutting brake lines and spilling grain from car at the EGT terminal, Duscha said.

Labor officials said EGT Development has a new $200 million facility on Port of Longview property and was negotiating with the union to operate it for several months. Talks broke off and it hired a contractor who uses workers from another union, Operating Engineers Local 701, to do the job.

“This constitutes an assault on over 80 years of longshore jurisdiction — an assault that could fundamentally change the dynamics of the relationship within the grain industry as a whole,” Robert McEllrath, international longshore president, said in a statement sent last week to union locals. “It is critical to the longshore division that this does not happen.”

Meanwhile, the international union is investigating reports of a wildcat strike at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

“It appears the members have taken action on their own,” said ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees from union headquarters in San Francisco. “We’re trying to understand how many are involved and to what extent this apparent wildcat action has spread.”

Thursday’s violence at Longview was first reported by Kelso radio station KLOG.

Police from several agencies in southwest Washington, the Washington State Patrol and Burlington Northern Santa Fe responded to the violence to secure the scene that followed a demonstration Wednesday.

“We’re not surprised,” Duscha said. “A lot of the protesters were telling us this is only the start.”

In Everett, there were a number of union signs with slogans like “EGT unfair to ILWU” and “EGT seeking unfair advantage on grain exports.”

“They’re trying to get rid of the longshore jobs,” Ritchie said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Think Tank Cowork in Everett, Washington on July 19, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
The first co-working space opens in downtown Everett

Think Tank Cowork’s owner hopes the facility will inspire other business owners to call Everett home.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The real estate market took an abrupt turn this spring

Mortgage rates are up, but home inspections, seller concessions are back on the table for buyers.

The Lab@Arlington is a new one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and inventors located at 404 N. Olympic Ave. (Photo credit: TheLab@Arlington)
New Arlington business incubator opens

TheLab@Arlington is a new one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, inventors and business owners.

Patrons view the 787 exhibition Thursday morning at the Boeing Future of Flight Musuem at Paine Field on October 8, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Paine Field was county’s No. 1 tourist attraction. Not now

Snohomish County officials hope festivals and outdoor activities will fill Paine Field tourist gap.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood Chamber of Commerce ‘can’t keep the doors open’

The chamber is set to shut down at the end of the month due to financial challenges.

OnTrac Logistics has leased a building now under construction at Bay Wood Business Park on Everett's waterfront. The shipping company will open a facility there later this year that will employ 400 people. (Artist Rendering/Broderick Group.)
New Everett shipping facility to generate 400 jobs

OnTrac Logistics has leased a new building on the 12½-acre Baywood Business Park on Everett’s waterfront.

Maria Rios, a ferry worker of 13 years, helps Frank and Fran Butler, both of Washington, D.C., check out as the couple purchases food on Thursday, July 21, 2022, aboard the MV Suquamish ferry between Mukilteo and Clinton, Washington. Rios said food service returned to the Suquamish about three weeks prior. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Drink up! Happy hour on the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry is back

More galleys are reopening as pandemic restrictions scale back. Get out of your car for concessions just like at the ballpark.

The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum at Paine Field in Everett. (Janice Podsada / The Herald) 20220419
Flying Heritage Museum to reopen with new owner at Paine Field

Walmart heir Steuart Walton bought the historic aircraft and artifacts. The museum is set to reopen within the year.

Renee's Contemporary Clothing store at 2820 Colby Ave. on July 11, 2022. The iconic downtown Everett store is closing in August after 29 years in business. (Janice Podsada/The Herald)
Renee’s, another iconic downtown Everett store, is closing

After 29 years in business, the longstanding clothing shop will shutter. In-person sales slowed when stores reopened.

FILE - The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Boeing is reporting a money-losing quarter as both its civilian-airplane division and the defense business are struggling. Boeing said Wednesday, April 27, 2022,  that it lost $1.24 billion in the first quarter and took large write-downs for several programs.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)
Boeing sees best month for aircraft deliveries since 2019

The company delivered 51 passenger and cargo planes in June, its best month for deliveries in recent years.

The Alderwood Towne Center, a 105,000 square-foot strip mall, is located at 3105-3225 Alderwood Mall Blvd. The mall, which has been sold, is home to 20 businesses, including anchor tenants Marshalls and Michaels. Photo Credit: CBRE Group.
Lynnwood strip mall near Link Light Rail Station sold

Alderwood Towne Center, home to 20 businesses, could eventually be redeveloped to take advantage of light rail.

James Berntson shows how his farm uses a trellis system to control tomato plants on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, at Radicle Roots Farm in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Backyard business: Snohomish farm thrives on less than one acre.

James Berntson grew Radicle Roots Farm using smart crop planning and organic practices.