For someone who witnessed all the confrontations between anti-war protestors and “hard hats” during the Vietnam War, this blows me away:
Thousands of dockworkers at West Coast ports stayed off the job on Thursday in what their union said was a call for an end to the war in Iraq.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said more than 25,000 members in 29 ports stayed off the job. The action came despite an order issued Wednesday by an arbitrator directing the union to tell its members to report for work as usual in response to a request from employers.
“Longshore workers are standing down on the job and standing up for America,” Bob McEllrath, the union’s president, said in a statement. “We’re supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it’s time to end the war in Iraq.”
The walkout was held in spite of orders from an arbitrator (the International Longshoremen’s and Warehouse Union is in negotiations in a soon-to-expire contract) that the Union stop workers from taking action.
Here in the Portland area, the walkout essentially shut down operations.
The Port of Vancouver shut down all of its terminals Thursday and the Port of Portland closed its key Terminal 6 as longshore workers took the day off in protest of U.S. military action in Iraq.
Bruce Holte, secretary/treasurer of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union Local 8 in Portland, said his 1,300 workers from ports in Portland, Vancouver, Astoria and Longview are part of 25,000 ILWU at 29 West Coast ports who are standing down in protest of the war.
“We’re taking a stance for the majority of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq,” Holte said.
The longshoreman conduct most of the work in loading and offloading cargo at port terminals. Holte said workers are scheduled to return at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Nelson Hanover, a spokesman for the Port of Vancouver, said all terminals would be closed Thursday as a result of the protest. The most important of those is the port’s grain terminal, which handles 16 percent of the country’s annual wheat exports, Hanover said.
Richard Nixon was highly successful pitting working people against the antiwar movement, but the Bush administration has so thoroughly and blatantly screwed the Occupation and the economy that it’s not a strategy that works well for Republicans 40 years later.