Oregon AFL-CIO Unions Vote to Support Locked-out Longshoremen

Calls on Marubeni to immediately end lockout at Columbia Grain

Published Jul 9, 2013 2:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Longshore workers who are locked out by a foreign corporation at the Port of Portland recently got a boost of solidarity from fellow union members across the state. The Oregon AFL-CIO executive board unanimously voted to pass a resolution during its June 21 meeting that says:

The Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board supports the ILWU in its struggle to secure a fair contract with Marubeni-Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus Commodities, and calls for Marubeni-Columbia Grain to immediately cease its lockout of ILWU Local 8. It further calls on its affiliate unions to take all necessary actions to support the ILWU in its struggle with the grain conglomerates. 

Marabeni-Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus Commodities are the two of the four employers comprising the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers’ Association, and both companies own grain elevators in Portland. A third company that owns an elevator in Portland is U.S.-based TEMCO, which ratified a new contract with the ILWU in March and is currently operating with longshore workers.

“The ILWU has a long history of backing up other unions in their struggles,” said Leal Sundet, ILWU Coast Committeeman. “That they are now backing us up as we’re under attack by Marubeni is a good thing, and we look forward to getting our hardworking members back to work with a fair agreement that respects the many decades of service and profits we’ve provides to these companies.”

“Every Oregonian should be upset that Marubeni operates at our public port, profiting from taxpayer-funded docks and railroad upgrades, and then takes away good jobs from our community,” said Troy Mosteller, a member of the Local 8 Negotiating Committee. “Marubeni’s trying to take as much as it can from Oregon taxpayers and workers while giving back as little as possible to our local economy. They need to get back on track and reach an agreement with the ILWU.” 

The ILWU Coast Longshore Division represents about 10,000 men and women on the docks of 30 ports on the U.S. West Coast, including about 1,000 in Oregon. The Oregon AFL-CIO’s membership includes 42 affiliate unions with a total of about 250,000 men and women in the public sector, manufacturing, service industries and building trades.

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