Maritime Union Of Australia Condemns Police Action Against Longview Dockers' Protestors

The Maritime Union of Australia is standing in solidarity with the Longview Dockers in the United States who were detained by police for protesting against job losses.

The MUA condemns the attack by police in riot gear on hundreds of Longview Dockers in Washington State and the detention of Bob McEllrath.

Mr McEllrath and hundreds of members were peacefully protesting at railroad tracks yesterday, blocking a train carrying grain to a foreign-owned loading facility in Longview, Washington.

McEllrath and fellow Dockers were defending the job rights of workers at a new grain export terminal at the port of Longview. The terminal owners, EGT, appear to be ignoring the 80-year agreement between the union and management by failing to guarantee local jobs.

"We stand by our brothers and sisters who are taking action to defend their jobs and their community," said MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin.

"We are seeing multi-national companies like EGT come into communities and take away the employment rights of local workers.

"The Dockers have stood together to ensure fair wages and conditions and local jobs for over 80 years in the Port of Longview.  Companies like EGT need to respect that and reach agreement with the union on their traditional area of work.

"I commend them for taking action to defend their jobs, their rights and their community."

'Big Bob' McEllrath was released in the face of protests from his fellow dockers, among reported threats from the authorities that 'the army will be brought in next time'.

"It's a disgrace that a multi-national company can hide behind anti-union laws to bully unionists in this fashion. All they are doing is cashing in on the anti-labor initiatives in places like Wisconsin that have already been brought into disrepute.

"EGT needs to take a step back, consider its actions, and meet with the union to discuss a way forward. The 350,000 plus dockers in the ITF will be watching how the company treats their American colleagues.

The MUA in particular will be ready to take whatever solidarity action is necessary in support of the Longview Dockers."