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ILWU, EGT reach tentative deal in Longview labor dispute

Union dock workers and EGT Development Monday reached a tentative agreement to end their year-long labor dispute at the Port of Longview under a cease-fire negotiated by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
Union dock workers and EGT Development Monday reached a tentative agreement to end their year-long labor dispute at the Port of Longview under a cease-fire negotiated by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The longshore union's share of the 25 to 35 jobs at the terminal still be must be worked out, and a labor contract must still be ratified by union membership, union officials said. However, the union agreed to withdraw its pickets and bargain.
The date of the first ship coming to EGT terminal has not been announced, and planned protests have not been called off. However, for now, Monday's announcement brings labor peace at the $200 million grain terminal, where protesters blocked two incoming grain trains, police arrested hundreds of longshoremen and supporters and a federal judge levied heavy fines against the union. The agreement also appears to head off a mass protest of EGT's first inbound grain ship, expected within weeks.
"It brought tears to my eyes. Gov. Gregoire must be an angel. That's the only thing I can figure out. Everybody tried, but she got it done," said Darold Dietz, a Port of Longview commissioner and retired longshoreman.
Several issues remain unresolved, including how many union operating engineers will continue to work at the site. Also uncertain is the status of a federal lawsuit in which the Port of Longview is trying to force EGT to hire union longshore labor.
Gregoire met as a mediator with EGT and ILWU leaders about a dozen times since August, said Karina Sharen, the governor's spokeswoman.
"Both parties should be commended for their willingness to work together and compromise. This framework reflects considerable effort to put the interests of the Longview community and the entire Columbia River basin first. I am confident an agreement can be reached that will satisfy both parties and allow the new grain terminal to become fully operational," Gregoire said in a written statement.
Added Robert McEllrath, president of the San Francisco-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union, "This is a win for the ILWU, EGT, and the Longview community."
Gregoire ratcheted up her involvement in the grain terminal after she helped Boeing and union machinists resolve their own contract dispute in December over construction of a new jet in Renton, said state Rep. Brian Blake, an Aberdeen Democrat whose 19th District includes Longview.
The apparent resolution of the EGT dispute was a welcome relief, Blake added.
"I threw some paper in the air and cheered. That kind of strife did not help as we try to get people back to work," he said.
Contract talks between EGT and the ILWU broke off a year ago, and union protests heated up over the summer. In July, EGT officials announced they would instead hire Federal Way-based General Construction, who employed union operating engineers, to a five-year contract
The fate of those workers, represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701, is unclear. A representative of General did not return a message seeking comment, and union officials said they would stay with the contractor.
"Local 701 members will continue to work for General Construction as we have done for almost 90 years whether at the EGT facility or somewhere else. Our labor contract is with General Construction. We have never had and still don't have a relationship or contract with EGT," said Mark Holliday, Local 701 business manager, in a written statement.
In a separate written statement, EGT CEO Larry Clarke did not address the company's contract with General Construction, but he said he looks forward to finally shipping the first grain to Asia.
"While the parties are still working to finalize certain conditions over the next several days, we are optimistic we can resolve the dispute and get on with the business of operating the facility. From the beginning, we had two core goals - to operate this 21st century facility safely and efficiently and to ensure the entire Longview community shares in the economic benefits this facility will provide," Clarke said.
Outside the EGT terminal Monday, two tents that had served as home base for the pickets were empty. ILWU officials have not called off their protest of the first grain ship, but they indicate it's a likely next step if a full agreement is reached with EGT. Officials with the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council and the Occupy movement said they would do the same in solidarity with the ILWU.
Area labor leaders say an agreement is cause for celebration in Longview and a lesson for other unions caught in their own disputes.
"If you just stick to it, long enough... it will get resolved in the proper manner. It certainly wasn't going to get resolved without a lot of attention coming to it," said Jeff Washburn, president of the Cowitz Wahkiakum labor council.
Copyright 2012 The Daily News Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more:  link to tdn.com

email I got from michael munk on the longshore grain issue w/ union 27.Jan.2012 09:15

Ben Waiting [email re-post]

6.27.12 [email repost]

>> There are least two rumors circulating about the substance of the
>> tentative EGT (of Portland) -ILWU settlement: the oldest was that only a
>> limited number of ILWU jobs would be offered at the Longview grain
>> terminal, while a later one predicted the union would get all the jobs
>> and a complete victory.
>> The Longview Daily News reports that a disturbing effort is under way to
>> modify the ILWU's contract with the Port of Longview that requires a
>> union contract for port jobs. In addition, it seems to confirm that the
>> main stumbling
block to a vote-eligible settlement is the number of ILWU jobs at the
and the future of the OE 701 scabs.
>> It also reports all ILWU longshore locals would have to vote on a new
>> contract--not just local 21.
>> The presumed scab ship Santa Vista waits in Astoria for a settlement and
>> Local 21 pickets are withdrawn from the terminal
>> So, as I wrote when the settlement was first announced:
"Whether this is in fact a "win-win" for the ILWU as president McEllrath
>> and Portland-based EGT CEO Clarke say won't be decided until we know the
>> substance of the tentative settllement and the "certain conditions" yet
>> to be agreed on.
>> EGT labor settlement postpones NLRB hearing on illegal picketing
>> By Erik Olson
>> The Daily News (Longview), January 24, 2012 .
>>  link to tdn.com
>> are staying mum on how many jobs at the Port of Longview's EGTgrain
>> terminal will be filled by union longshoremen, but a tentativesettlement
>> has already compelled the longshore union and EGT to push back akey labor
>> hearing at the heart of the dispute.The National Labor Relations Board
>> postponed a hearing scheduled for Mondayon whether the International
>> Longshore and Warehouse Union engaged inillegal picketing during last
>> summer's protests, according to FrankRandolph, Port of Longview
>> attorney.The first day of the hearing, expected to last at least a month,
>> has beenrescheduled for Feb. 6. According to the labor board, the Pacific
>> MaritimeAssociation also is listed as a party because of the lost time
>> incurred byshippers due to longshore walkouts in Longview, Seattle and
>> Tacoma inSeptember in protest of EGT's hiring policies.Attorneys for EGT,
>> the ILWU and the Port of Longview are discussing ways tomodify the
>> company's lease and the port's working agreement with the ILWU tocreate
>> the legal framework to get union workers in the terminal, Randolphsaid
>> Tuesday, adding that the parties are also trying to settle a
>> federallawsuit filed a year ago over the staffing of the terminal."It
>> sounded like everyone was excited to move forward," said Randolph, whois
>> not directly involved in the discussions.Meanwhile, negotiators for the
>> company and the union are expected to hammerout the final details of the
>> tentative agreement, which was announced Mondayby Washington Gov. Chris
>> Gregoire. The final version must then be ratifiedby a vote of all ILWU
>> members on the West Coast. Both sides have declined tocomment on contract
>> details before a final agreement has been reached.The original talks
>> broke down almost exactly one year ago, with both sideslater saying they
>> had conducted almost no real bargaining.A few key disagreements emerged
>> last January that will need to be resolved:. EGT's central control room:
>> Company officials had insisted that their ownmanagement staff run what
>> they term a state-of-art control room, whichmonitors the terminal's grain
>> unloading systems, conveyor belts, the140-foot tall silos and other
>> operations. ILWU officials demanded that atleast one longshoreman staff
>> the control room to ensure the safety ofworkers in the terminal, citing
>> the union's 80-year history working in WestCoast grain terminals..
>> Overtime pay: ILWU officials objected to an EGT proposal to
>> structure12-hour shifts over two weeks without paying overtime to workers
>> on the jobfor more than eight hours a day. A longshore union rule
>> requires overtimepay whenever an employee exceeds eight hours on a shift.
>> Company officialssaid they wanted to operate 12-hour shifts to run the
>> terminal asefficiently as possible.. Number of shift jobs: According to
>> the union, EGT last year offered theILWU seven jobs per shift for two,
>> 12-hour shifts, which the union said wasinsufficient without an agreement
>> to work in the control room. The twoparties also have yet to announce
>> whether contractor General Constructionwould still have unionized
>> operating engineers working in the terminal.The ILWU and EGT had been
>> locked in a protracted dispute over jobs at theterminal, which hit an
>> abrupt cease fire Monday with Gregoire'sannouncement. The union has
>> maintained that its contract with the Port ofLongview requires EGT to
>> hire Longview-based Local 21 longshore labor on the35-acre site the
>> company leases from the port.EGT had disagreed and instead retained
>> General Construction, which employedmembers of the International Union of
>> Operating Engineers Local 701, basedin Gladstone, Ore., for the 25 to 35
>> jobs at the terminal.Port of Longview Commissioner Lou Johnson, a marine
>> clerk and ILWU member,said Tuesday he thinks an agreement will help
>> soothe tensions between theport and longshoremen."It's going to start a
>> healing process. It's probably not going to beinstantaneous. As far as
>> Local 21 and the port goes, that process hasalready started," he
>> said.visit the new photo gallery on my website www.michaelmunk.com