Hey, remember when Jimmy Hoffa Jr pledged that his union “army” would take out those “sons of bitches” in the Tea Party? Well, you can’t just jump into battle without tuning up a little first. The labor movement apparently decided to fight its first skirmish in Longview, Washington, where the ILWU seized grain and hostages while wreaking havoc at a rail yard:
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.
The ironic part of this story is that the ILWU declared war not on a non-union shop, but on a shop represented by a competing 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.
Nineteen union protesters were arrested and cited for second-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor. Three were arrested when a scuffle broke out with police, and 16 more were arrested when they refused to leave the tracks when the train started up again, Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson said. Deputies say they are also investigating alleged vandalism to the train after it stopped. The names of the arrested were not immediately available Wednesday night.
“It was a very, very ugly situation,” Nelson said, adding that he fears the conflict could escalate.
Police said a throng of protesters pushed against them, forcing them to beat them away with clubs and pepper spray. Union officials say they worried police were going to arrest Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, for trespassing, so they moved to protect him. McEllrath was not arrested.
Unions also defied a court order when they demonstrated at EGT:
Last week, a federal judge ordered a temporary restraining order against ILWU Local 21 in Longview and Local 4 in Vancouver barring illegal picketing against EGT. Union members have harassed and threatened EGT workers numerous times during the dispute, according to the NLRB.
Yesterday, David Frum noted at The Week that Hoffa’s threat to “take out” Tea Party activists should be taken seriously, a prescient view considering the union violence we’re seeing today:
The Teamsters have a reputation as one of America’s less delicate unions. Some say that reputation is outdated — an artifact of a ruder time. Then you come across something like the following: A 2003 National Labor Relations Board settlement between the Teamsters union and a picketed employer.
Here’s the first full page of the text, unedited. Just imagine the events that might have led to such a statement.
“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.[“]
That’s actually only half the first page, so be sure to read it all. As Frum concludes, if Hoffa threatens to take people out, they should check their life and health insurance policies.
When unions accuse conservatives of being SOBs that need to be fought, just remember that they mean that quite literally. And when progressives talk about the latent hatred and violence in the Tea Party, this should serve as an effective reminder of where the actual violence in the system can be found. It ain’t the Tea Party activists having to agree to stop engaging in the behavior highlighted by Frum.