Tag Archives: ILWU

Labor unions join Occupy Movement today

Protesters block Steel Bridge, photo by Israel Bayer

Labor unions led the way in the latest Occupy Portland demonstration, this one challenging police to marching rights over the Steel Bridge. In the end, the peaceful marchers were matched nearly one for one by police in riot gear.

Among the groups displaying banners and signs at the event were the Teamsters, Jobs With Justice, the Service Employees International Union and the Laborers International Union of North America. The marchers, hundreds in strength, began early this morning and are now gathered in Waterfront Park for a rally. Today, “N17,” has been declared an international day of non-violent direct action by the Occupy movement, and plans are to push forward demonstrations at major corporate banks throughout the day. Continue reading

Biggest labor struggle in years dismissed by major media

By Michael Munk, Contributing Writer

Background: Four months ago, contract talks between the ILWU and EGT broke down, making the Longview site the only grain terminal on the West Coast not operated by the ILWU. The union says its contract with the Port of Longview requires EGT to hire the ILWU Local 21 labor for the terminal.

EGT attorneys sued the port in federal court in January, saying the company is not bound by the port’s contract. A trial is scheduled for next year.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 and allies demonstrate outside the EGT Development headquarters in Portland after the company refused to honor the union’s contract with the Port of Longview. Continue reading

WTO 10-anniversary march in Portland

A few hundred folks gathered today in protest of the World Trade Organization and policies impacting workers around the world.  The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Teamsters, and Jobs With Justice along with a flavorful mix of anti-war, immigrant, homeless and environmental activists gathered underneath the Hawthorne Bridge and marched to Portland State University.

Two union fellas from ILWU Local 4.

Teamster truck that led the march.

The sad irony of the event was that the march gathered under the Hawthorne Bridge, home to about 30 individuals experiencing homelessness. Scott, who says he became homeless because of a disability and lack of health care lives under the bridge. His camp can be seen in the background. Continue reading

Murnane Wharf gets remembered after all

wharfIn today’s Oregonian, Anne Saker writes about the effort to restore the memory of the Francis J. Murnane Wharf, threatened by the reconstruction of Waterfront Park at the end of Ankeny Street.  Union leaders are now pushing to preserve the memory of the ILWU’s inspiring leader following an article in Street Roots by Portland author Michael Munk. Here’s the story by Munk from the March 20 Street Roots:

By Michael Munk
Contributing Columnist
The impending relocation of Portland’s Saturday market includes a new pedestrian walk cantilevered just over the Willamette River south of the Burnside Bridge. But will its strollers be aware they are passing over the only public memorial to a labor leader in the state of Oregon?

Since it was dedicated by International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) leader Harry Bridges in 1979, the Francis J. Murnane Wharf has stood (and floated) at the seawall at the foot of SW Ankeny Street. It commemorates Murnane’s career as an organizer of the former CIO International Woodworkers of America (IWA) in the 1930s and after 1946 as a longshoreman and president of Portland ILWU Local 8. He died in 1968 while chairing a meeting of its members at a time when he had also become a prominent leader of the historic preservation movement in the city.

Bridges noted that Murnane’s IWA and ILWU were both founded “in the spirit of the old Industrial Workers of the World” and that “it was always his hope that the slogan of the Wobblies (and Karl Marx) would come true:  ‘Workers of the World Unite.’” Father Bertram Griffin of St. Andrews Catholic Church followed Bridges to bless the wharf for the use of “radicals, labor activists, and lovers.”

During the McCarthy Era, Murnane was an outspoken defender of persecuted radicals. He organized the Julia Eaton Ruuttila Defense Committee in 1948 — and more than 30 years later Ruuttila reported the Wharf dedication in the union paper, The Dispatcher. As chair of Portland’s Harry Bridges Defense Committee in 1949, Murnane denounced the Portland police Red Squad for targeting the ILWU leader. He ran for the state legislature on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948.
Continue reading