West Coast longshore union pulls out of national AFL-CIO


PORTLAND — The West Coast longshore union is cutting its 25-year affiliation with the national AFL-CIO because groups affiliated with the umbrella organization have been crossing picket lines at Pacific Northwest grain terminals and trying to take jobs from dockworkers at other ports.

Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, explained the decision in a letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a copy of which was obtained by The Oregonian newspaper.

Dockworkers at grain terminals in Portland and Vancouver, Wash., have been locked out of jobs for months, and McEllrath says affiliates have been “blatantly” crossing picket lines on a daily basis. He also cited offenses — he uses the word “attacks” — by other affiliates in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma.

As an affiliate since 1988, the ILWU passed on a portion of its dues receipts to the AFL-CIO, a national federation of unions with more than 12 million members. McEllrath’s letter, sent Thursday, notes that the ILWU has been independent and unaffiliated for most of its history. “Today, the ILWU returns to that tradition,” he wrote.

Besides exposing a rift in organized labor, the letter reveals the increasingly embattled status of the dockworkers’ union as automation takes hold.

“We see this situation only getting worse as the ILWU is about to start West Coast longshore negotiations and face the challenge of the ports soon being run by robotics and computer-operated machinery over the next five to 10 years,” McEllrath wrote. “The survival of the ILWU and the job security of our members depend on our having these remaining jobs, which will mostly involve the servicing and maintenance of the robotics and other machinery.”

Moreover, McEllrath’s letter the ILWU is frustrated with the AFL-CIO’s “overly compromising” policy positions on immigration, labor law reform, health care reform and international labor issues. “We feel the Federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people by going along to get along.”

Tom Chamberlain, Oregon AFL-CIO president, said the ILWU’s decision to leave is discouraging, but Trumka has a track record of mending fences and bringing groups back into the fold.



Iopine says...

That's funny - even the Unions are getting disgusted when they get treated like the rest of the tax paying public.

Posted 3 September 2013, 11:43 a.m. Suggest removal

downhillracer says...

Read - and try to understand the article, if ever so slightly possible. It's about jobs and impending automation. The ILWU is frustrated with the AFL-CIO’s “overly compromising” policy positions on immigration, labor law reform, health care reform and international labor issues: hardly the right-wing-nut foaming-at-the-mouth tea party heresy you hoped for.

Posted 3 September 2013, 9:58 p.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Hey dufus - try reading my post again and in the meantime try to gain some intelligence. Between Obamacare and this Administration's regulations shipping jobs overseas is exactly the same circumstances as I was referring to. Try comprehending once in a while would be a treat rather than reading your ignorant rants.

Posted 6 September 2013, 9:55 a.m. Suggest removal

downhillracer says...

"this Administration's regulations shipping jobs overseas". Care to support this 'claim' with facts? And a report by the US Chamber of Commerce doesn't count. Job 'creators' have been rewarded for years to outsource and sub-contract to the lowest bidder, clearly your perception of reality is too narrow to understand otherwise.

Posted 8 September 2013, 11:54 a.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Lets start with the Presidents Jobs Czar (Jeffrey Immelt - CEO of GE) has moved the majority of GE over to China. Regulations brought forth by the EPA has killed more jobs than any other administration in history. When you have over 90 million people out of work that has to be a problem especially with the 7.3% rate using fuzzy math. How about the Black unemployment rate moving up to 13%? This President is totally incompetent and he proves it every day.

You seem to suffer from severe ego cranial inversion which makes you very lame for society. Get off of those Obama media sites and read something that will get you into the real world.

Posted 8 September 2013, 1:29 p.m. Suggest removal

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