The Wall Street Journal notices that the Washington State’s Longshoreman’s acts of violence were too much for even the NLRB to ignore:
It turns out a union can go so far that even the current National Labor Relations Board can’t turn a blind eye. A grain operator at the Port of Longview in Washington state was hit with a violent strike yesterday by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Longshoreman walked out at nearby ports in Tacoma and Seattle.
According to police reports, some 500 longshoreman broke in at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning and held six security guards hostage for two hours while the protesters rampaged through the facility. They cut brake lines on railroad cars and spilled grain from boxcars.
The grain terminal under attack is owned by EGT, LLC, which is a joint venture of U.S., Japanese and South Korean companies. The consortium built the facility for $200 million and announced it would employ non-union longshoreman to save $1 million a year in operating costs. Contract negotiations between EGT and the union broke down earlier this year. The facility has been under physical assault since July.
On August 31, the NLRB issued a complaint accusing the union of taking “violent and aggressive” actions, destroying EGT’s property and harassing its employees. In response to an NLRB request, federal Judge Ronald B. Leighton issued a temporary restraining order, which the union has ignored. It would have been impossible for the NLRB not to have issued a complaint when a union is publicly trashing people and property.
There is some concern that the strike against the two big ports could spread to other important U.S. points of entry if ILWU shops begin slowdowns in sympathy with the union in Washington state. If that happens, the events yesterday will become a national issue demanding the attention of a President who is desperately trying to hold his union base together. This one is worth watching.