Tacoma, Wash. Teachers Union Part of Longshoremen Strike

The National Labor Relations Board filed for an injunction against any further union activity at Port of Longview after the union violated a temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge, FoxNews reports. Contrary to the order, the union joined a wildcat strike on Thursday that eventually triggered walkouts at five other Washington State ports. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton granted the injunction the same day.

But it’s not just the longshoremen who are on strike — the teachers of Tacoma Public Schools are part of it all, too.

In the ruling, Leighton said that the union’s aggressive actions were indefensible.

He 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 scheduled a hearing for next Thursday to determine whether the union should be held in civil contempt.

The wildcat strike was brought on by EGT’s effort to staff its new port with non-union workers. The union felt that, after taking advantage of tax breaks to build the new $200 million facility, and promising to bring jobs to the area, EGT’s attempts to go behind the back of the union was in bad faith.

After protests by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, EGT now says that it will be using a contractor General Construction Co. which employs members of the Operating Engineers, Local 701.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the recent actions by the ILWU stem from its efforts to retain exclusive control over the grain terminals in the Northwest. According to the ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent, employment of the union members was part of the initial contract between EGT and the Port of Longview.

ILWU is not the only union currently striking contrary to a judge’s order. Tacoma Public School teachers voted to continue striking last week even though a temporary injunction issued Judge Bryan Chushcoff required them to return to work. The News Tribune reports that the judge scheduled a further hearing on September 27th, while the Tacoma School District is considering requesting fines against the Tacoma Teachers Union when their representatives next meet in court.

Meanwhile, the teachers and district administrators are still negotiating to bring the strike to a close.

Earlier Sunday, Tacoma Public Schools officials said they would withdraw some contract language on teacher transfers and reassignments that the union found objectionable. They also offered a one-year grace period to keep the current seniority-based system intact.

Both sides have been summoned to the Governor’s office, as the strike has reached its seventh day.