TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge ordered union protesters to stop using illegal tactics Thursday as they battle for the right to work at a new grain terminal in Washington state.In case you're weeping for the poor downtrodden, catch this:
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton issued a preliminary injunction to restrict union activity, saying there was no defense for the aggressive tactics used in recent days. Protesters twice blocked the pathway of a train carrying grain to the terminal at the Port of Longview on Wednesday, and early Thursday morning hundreds of them stormed the facility, overwhelmed guards, dumped grain and broke windows, police said.
The dispute halted work at four other Washington ports, including Seattle, on Thursday as hundreds of longshoremen refused to show up or walked off the job.
Leighton said he felt like a paper tiger because the International Longshore and Warehouse Union clearly ignored a temporary restraining order he issued last week with similar limits. He said he now wants to hold a hearing to determine whether the union should be held in civil contempt.
"The regard for the law is absent here," the judge said. "Somebody is going to be hurt seriously."
Six guards were trapped for a couple of hours after at least 500 Longshoremen broke down gates about 4:30 a.m. and smashed windows in the guard shack, Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said. He initially referred to the guards as "hostages," but later retracted that after the guards clarified no one had threatened them.
The union believes it has the right to work at the facility, but the company has hired a contractor that's staffing a workforce of laborers from another union, the Portland-based Operating Engineers Local 701.I guess when they're through burning down the port, they'll come for the Tea Party Terrorists.
Except, unlike the security guards, we're armed...