Union Bosses Threaten Harm to Children

On March 10, 2014, in News Clips, by CLJ

Authorities are investigating allegatons of threats and violence to workers as well as their children, in a year-long strike filled with violence and threats.  Richard Read has the story on Oregonlive.com

The National Labor Relations Board accused longshoremen this week of assaulting United Grain Corp. security officers and threatening to rape a manager’s daughter and harm a boss’s children.

After investigating charges filed by the company, Hooks alleged longshore picketers shone spotlights into vehicles entering and exiting United Grain’s terminal, blocking drivers’ vision and causing permanent eye injury to a security officer. Hooks alleged locked-out workers recklessly pursued company vans, threatened to harm Columbia River pilots and pinned a security officer’s leg under a moving vehicle.

Hooks alleged that Local 4 members “threatened to rape the daughter of one of the employer’s managers,” and implied threats to harm a manager’s children by telling him they would “see his children at school” and asking, “are (his) children okay today?”

The NLRB charges are the most recent developments in a lockout that began Feb. 27, 2013, and later included Columbia Grain Inc. in Portland and Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Portland and Seattle. Sporadic contract negotiations continue between the longshore union and the companies, which are using non-union workers to load Northwest grain on ships for export.

Hooks dismissed several of the union charges and found merit in some others, which he consolidated and converted into a nine-page complaint dated Feb. 28. Hooks incorporated charges by United Grain in a nine-page complaint dated the same day.

NLRB attorneys will essentially act as prosecutors during the hearings, presenting the cases originally advanced by United Grain and Local 4.

In Hooks’ case against Local 4, he listed numerous alleged incidents, including an assault on a vendor’s truck, rocks thrown at a security guard and racial slurs made against United Grain’s African American security officers.

The grain handlers’ lockout and dispute with the longshore union is separate from the union’s feud with the Port of Portland and ICTSI Oregon Inc. over conditions at the Port’s container terminal.

That North Portland terminal reopened Thursday after an arbitrator ordered longshoremen back to work, ruling that union members faced no immediate danger Wednesday when they called a work stoppage because of an altercation. Arbitrator Jan Holmes ruled the dispute was legitimate under the dockworkers’ contract, but said longshoremen would not be paid for their time during the stoppage.

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