Union violence

When a union leader like Jimmy Hoffa threatens violence, it’s not an idle threat. In a labor dispute in Washington State, union longshoremen went on a rampage and took hostages Thursday:

Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview early Thursday, overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad cars, and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

Six guards were held hostage for a couple of hours after 500 or more Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, he said.

Then they fought the police (which I suppose isn’t so surprising from kidnappers). Their criminal conduct then worsened on Friday:

With officers far outnumbered by protesters, Sheriff’s deputies, police officers and Washington State Patrol troopers had to back off to a defensive position during Wednesday’s ILWU rally due to threats to their safety.

“Our teams of 4 or 5 officers were confronted by baseball bat and axe handle wielding protesters.” Said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson. “They had their protest signs attached to bats and axe handles. When we attempted to make simple, misdemeanor arrests for trespassing, the officers were rushed by the crowd. Officers were literally holding people back to protect other officers attempting to make lawful arrests.” Nelson said. . .

Also continuing is the investigation in to the Thursday morning assault and carjacking that took place on the EGT plantsite after security was overrun by a mob of ILWU supporters. At around 4:30 a.m., hundreds of supporters tore down fences, smashed windows, cut air hoses to a grain train, and opened the rail cars, spilling grain all over the ground. Several pieces of evidence, including bolt cutters, pipes, ILWU signs and fliers were left lying around the facility.

Also of great concern was the perception of safety by the security personnel on scene. After seeing all the cars and people massing, then pouring through their gates, smashing out the guardshack window with a baseball bat, and causing damage, the officers had no way out. They were blocked from leaving down E. Mill Road, and there was no other open access out of the facility. At some point they felt that their personal safety was at too great a risk, and they ran for a vehicle and headed towards a back gate. They reported that a group tried to block them in, but the lights of approaching law enforcement vehicles stopped the group and the officers were able to flee.

One of the most frightening parts of the incident was when several saboteures, blocked a Columbia Security officer, (a 48 year old Longview man) dragged him out of his security patrol vehicle, took the vehicle and after recklessly driving it around the EGT facility, crashed it into an embankment.

(Emphasis mine.)

I’m not sure why the state police aren’t involved, since the local police are clearly outnumbered.

ASIDE: Ed Morrissey notes that, ironically, the union thugs’ dispute isn’t even against a non-union shop, but against another union:

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union believes it has the right to work at the facility, but the company has hired a contractor that’s staffing a workforce of other union laborers.

This should give you a picture of what is going on. It’s the wrong frame of reference to look at this as a political dispute; this is a mob fighting for its turf.

A local television station went to the Longshoremen’s headquarters to ask them for their side. They were not welcomed, to put it mildly (CONTENT WARNING: union language):

ASIDE: When a Fox News host asked DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to comment on Hoffa’s threats, she countered by asking “How many times have you called out coarse language at tea party rallies? Almost never.” Calling President Obama a socialist is not coarse language. This is coarse language.

Returning to Hoffa, for a little more perspective on what can be on order when the Teamsters threatens violence, David Frum dredges up a 2003 settlement between the Teamsters and one of their targets, and suggests that we imagine what must have led to such a settlement. I’ll excerpt it after the jump:

We [the Teamsters local] will not engage in mass picketing or otherwise impede the ingress or egress of COMPANY employees or employees of any other employer to or from any COMPANY service center or any facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY or patrol or walk across the entrance of any COMPANY service center or a facility of any neutral person doing business with COMPANY in such a manner as to impede or delay the ingress or egress of any individual.

We will not batter, assault, spit on, blow whistles loudly near a person’s ear, throw any liquid or solid object at, or attempt to assault any non-striking employee of COMPANY or any member of his or her family or any employee of a neutral employee doing business with COMPANY, or any security guard or supervisor or manager of a neutral empoyee doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees.

We will not threaten to kill or inflict bodily harm, make throat slashing motions, make gun pointing motions, challenge or threaten to fight or assault employees, threaten to sexually assault non-striking employees or their family members, threaten to follow non-striking employees to their homes, use racial epithets or obscene gestures at non-striking employees doing business with COMPANY, or on any security guard, supervisor, or manager of COMPANY or neutral employers doing business with COMPANY in the presence of employees.

“We will not videotape or photograph any non-striking employees of COMPANY, or vehicles of COMPANY or its non-striking employees while engaging in coercive activity observed or known by those being videotaped or threaten to release the photographs, names, addresses, or photographs of non-striking employees.

And it goes on.

UPDATE (10/7): A quarter of a million seems like a pretty light penalty for this violent criminal action. (Via Instapundit.)

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