Thursday, September 8, 2011

500 Longshoremen union members storm Washington State Port, damage railroad and hold guards hostage

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.

No one was hurt, and nobody has been arrested. Most of the protesters returned to their union hall after cutting brake lines and spilling grain from car at the EGT terminal, Duscha said.

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.

Thursday's violence was first reported by Kelso radio station KLOG.

Police from several agencies in southwest Washington, the Washington State Patrol and Burlington Northern Santa Fe responded to the violence to secure the scene that followed a demonstration Wednesday. more