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Bat- and Pipe-Wielding Union Thugs Rampage in Washington State
(Source: October 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)
For decades, Right to Work advocates have fought to close the judicially created loophole in federal anti-extortion law that exempts threats, vandalism and violence perpetrated to secure so-called “legitimate union objectives,” including monopoly-bargaining and forced-dues privileges over employees.
In explaining the importance of closing the loophole created 38 years ago in the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 5-4 Enmons decision, National Right to Work Committee spokesmen and their allies have pointed out, time and again, that local and state law enforcement are often overwhelmed by violent union conspiracies.
Just last month, the local police in Longview, Wash., a Columbia River port town, became the latest case in point.
At 4:30 AM on September 8, hundreds of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU/AFL-CIO) militants stormed a new grain terminal at the Port of Longview.
Big Labor thugs broke down the gates, overwhelmed six security guards, and then converged on the terminal of EGT, a joint venture of U.S., Japanese, and South Korean companies that has been targeted by ILWU chiefs.
A week later, security guard Charlie Cadwell testified before U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton that every ILWU “protester” he saw that night was carrying a baseball bat, lead pipe, garden tool, or other weapon.
As the AP reported, Mr. Cadwell told the judge he was first pulled out of his car by one Big Labor zealot, then another swung a metal pipe at him.
“I told him,” Mr. Cadwell continued, “You have 50 cameras on you, and law enforcement is on its way. He said, ‘(Expletive) you. We’re not here for you; we’re here for the train.'”
Meanwhile, yet another union militant drove off with his car and eventually ran it into a ditch. Mr. Cadwell said “about 40 to 50 people were throwing rocks at him, and that he was hit between his eyes and in his knee,” according to the AP account.
‘I Wasn’t About’ to Stop ‘These People From Doing Whatever It Is They Were Going to Do’
The ILWU lawbreakers in Washington State evidently feel no more compunction about using threats and violence against police than they do about assaulting and terrorizing security guards.
Longview police Sgt. Mark Langlois tried to respond to a call that night about dozens of vehicles leaving the ILWU hall in Longview, but a vehicle parked in the middle of the road blocked his path. Next, a bat-wielding union mob threatened the sergeant.
“I was by myself. I was completely outnumbered. I wasn’t about to stop any of these people from doing whatever it is they were going to do,” Mr. Langlois later testified.
And Mr. Langlois was just one of many police officers who were threatened. “Our teams of four or five officers were confronted by baseball bat- and ax handle-wielding protesters,” Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson told Portland’s KOIN-TV.
With neither security guards nor police able to stop them, union toughs went on a rampage.
They cut the brake lines of many rail cars in the EGT terminal and dumped the grain contained in 72 of them. They also smashed windows and cut the air hoses to a grain train.
Altogether, roughly $150,000 in damage was done, according to EGT’s estimate. Yet police were unable to make a single arrest at the scene.
‘This Was an Organized, Large-Scale Criminal Event’
“This was an organized, large-scale criminal event,” Sheriff Nelson told Longview’s Daily News September 9. “We’re talking about sabotage. We’re talking about riotous behavior.”
Moreover, top union officials including ILWU International President Bob McEllrath publicly encouraged such activity in advance by participating, for example, in an illegal blockade of deliveries to the EGT grain terminals September 7.
“If business executives anywhere in America openly encouraged and orchestrated sabotage, threats, vandalism and violence against the employees and property of a rival company, they could expect to be charged with felonies and go to prison for a long time,” commented Right to Work President Mark Mix.
“The same is true for Americans in virtually every other walk of life.
“Unfortunately, however, in today’s America, prosecutions of Big Labor assaults, death threats, sabotage, property destruction, and other serious crimes are extraordinarily difficult.
“The fact is, it is very unlikely Bob McEllrath and other ILWU bosses will be criminally prosecuted for inciting and organizing the Longview mayhem.
“Such prosecutions are frequently hindered because of the judicially-created loophole in the federal Hobbs Act that exempts from prosecution extortionate violence committed pursuant to supposedly ‘legitimate union objectives.’
“And one objective that federal labor law clearly deems to be ‘legitimate’ is to expand the number of employees who are force to accept union representation and pay union dues as a condition of employment.
“That was, without a doubt, the primary objective of the ILWU bosses when their militant followers were wreaking havoc at the EGT grain terminal on the morning of September 8.”
Freedom From Union Violence Act Would Close Lethal Loophole
“What Mr. McEllrath, his cohorts, and their henchmen have engaged in is extortion, as that word is commonly understood,” Mr. Mix continued. “But because of the pro-union violence loophole in the federal Hobbs Act, they can’t be charged with extortion.
“With the law so heavily tilted in their favor, ILWU bosses who encouraged, helped coordinate, and ratified the threats, violence and vandalism at the Port of Washington are likely to get off scot-free, regardless of how compelling the evidence against them is.
“This is a black mark on the American justice system — and it makes your blood boil.
“Fortunately, a provision in H.R.2810/S.1507, the Employee Rights Act, now before both chambers of Congress, would at last close the union-violence loophole the Supreme Court opened up in 1973.
“The provision, also known as the Freedom from Union Violence Act, would hold union officials who plan, commit, or foment extortionate violence against a firm’s employees to the same standards as business rivals, gangsters, or anyone else who does the same.”
Committee legislative staffers are now working with pro-Right to Work House and Senate members to secure introduction and consideration of Enmons repeal as a freestanding bill.
Big Labor Politicians Know Public Opinion Is Against Them on Union-Violence Issue
“Since the High Court’s Enmons ruling interpreted the Hobbs Act, not the U.S. Constitution, Congress clearly has the authority to override it,” Mr. Mix explained.
“Of course, with forced-unionism cheerleader Harry Reid [D-Nev.] in charge of the Senate and union-label President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, it will be a steeply uphill battle to pass the Freedom from Union Violence Act into law this year or next.
“But simply forcing all congressmen and senators to vote on this legislation would mark an important advance and pave the way for a future victory.
“Even Big Labor politicians know public opinion is against them on the union-violence issue. Within the next few years, Right to Work supporters can win this battle. But first we will have to wage an extended and furious fight.”
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