Occupy Responds to ILWU & EGT Tentative Agreement for Longview

Categories: Labor Solidarity Committee, Other Committees

For Immediate Release — January 23, 2012

Occupations will continue to mobilize until the agreement is finalized by
ILWU membership

Portland, OR – The West Coast Occupy Movement is acknowledging a
temporary agreement has been reached between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union  and grain company EGT. ILWU Local 21 in Longview, WA has been locked in on ongoing labor dispute with the Bunge-backed grain conglomerate. The
company, majority-owned by international grain conglomerate Bunge, recently
sat down at the table with the ILWU on the heels of an international
mobilization by Occupy and many in the Labor Movement in solidarity.

“This temporary agreement is a step towards meeting the needs of the
Longview community and respecting the jurisdiction of the Longshore union,
but is not a permanent contract. Occupy will continue mobilizing until rank-
and-file Longshore workers declare permanent victory,” said Paul Nipper,
organizer with Occupy Longview.

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire has taken credit for bringing the
parties to the table and ILWU International President Robert McElrath has
been negotiating withthe company since Sunday. Anonymous sources indicate
that President McElrath has negotiated a tentative agreement, which states
that no work at the terminal in Longview will be performed until a labor
agreement is reached. Any agreement on contracts between management (EGT)
and workers (ILWU) must be voted on by the membership of the ILWU.

“All work on the Occupy Caravan to Longview must continue. It will be the
rank-and-file of Local 21 who determine whether or not this is a victory. A
vote on the contract will be our first indicator of rank-and-file’s
position and we can’t stop mobilizing until that is decided,” says Jess
Kincaid, organizer with Occupy Portland. “Good faith negotiating by EGT
means that no ship will dock at the Port of Longview grain elevator until
an agreement has been reached,” added Kincaid.

Organizers from the Occupy Movement claim this tentative agreement as a
victory for the workers, for social movements, and for the 99%. *Occupy
Oakland organizer Barucha Peller said, “Our organizing around this
struggle was a key factor in this temporary victory for the working people
of Longview.” The Occupy Movement engages in new forms of struggle in the
interest of the working class in the US and around the world. We will
continue to put pressure on EGT and their parent company Bunge Ltd until
the rank-and-file workers’ have seen some justice. Beyond this labor
struggle, we will still work to hold Bunge Ltd. accountable for their
despicable labor and environmental record around the world. Bunge’s actions
are not unique; this is symptomatic of larger problems with our economic

EGT Development is owned primarily by Bunge Ltd, an international
agribusiness holding company. Bunge has been accused of tax avoidance and
labor law violations in Brazil and in Argentina. Bunge North America also has
a history of union disputes and union-busting in the United States.
According to Greanpeace and Rainforset Action Network, Bunge’s soybean
production is a major contributor to rainforest destruction
]. They have also been accused of buying soy from plantations in Brazil which
areblacklisted by the Brazilian government for the use of slave labor [

Supporters of the Longview workers are still planning to mobilize if
needed, but are asking the caravan to wait for official word on the contract
negotiation outcome. If in fact the membership of ILWU Local 21 approve a
contract, Occupy will mobilize in celebration of this victory for the
community of Longview and workers everywhere.

Updates can be found at www.OccupyTheEGT.org <http://www.occupytheegt.org/>

*This release has been approved by the Solidarity with Longview working
groups of Occupy Oakland, Occupy Portland, Occupy Longview, and Occupy
Seattle. *


One Response to “Occupy Responds to ILWU & EGT Tentative Agreement for Longview”

  1. a_small_voice

    i’ll be glad when this longview mess is over. tired of hearing about it.