Alameda Labor Council Resolution / Use of Coast Guard

The following resolution was adopted this evening by the Alameda Labor Council, overturning a recommendation of the Executive Committee to table it as moot in light of the settlement between EGT and ILWU. It does not speak to the settlement (or lack of one) between EGT and ILWU, but rather to the role of the Coast Guard, a military arm of the government, on behalf of an employer in a local labor dispute with no national or strategic government issues at stake. 

Resolution Condemning the Use of the U.S. Coast Guard in Support of the EGT Corporation Against ILWU Members in Longview, WAWhereas,

the Alameda Labor Council is already on record in support of ILWU Local 21 in its dispute with EGT Corporation in Longview, WA; andWhereas, the U.S. Coast Guard has been ordered to provide an armed escort for a grain ship destined for the EGT Terminal in Longview to load grain for shipment to Asia; and

Whereas, the deployment of military forces of the U.S. government in support of an employer in the midst of a local labor dispute is an outrageous and unwarranted intervention into labor relations by the federal government; and

Whereas, this is the first time federal military forces have been deployed against American workers since President Ronald Reagan deployed military air traffic controllers to break the PATCO strike in 1981, and prior to that the only other use of military forces in a labor dispute in the last 42 years was by President Richard Nixon, who deployed the military against striking postal workers in 1970; and

Whereas, unlike those disputes, the Longview conflict is a purely local dispute that represents no threat to strategic national interests and does not involve any interference with the operations of the federal government or its military services; and

Whereas, President Barack Obama was elected with broad support from the labor movement and working people with the expectation that he would use the authority and resources of the federal government to address the pressing needs of working people and the poor rather than as an instrument to support corporate profiteering and union-busting; and

Whereas, this action can serve as a precedent to justify the use of military forces against workers and their unions in future disputes anywhere in the country; and

Whereas, this action is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend toward the militarization of our society as evidenced by the militarization of our air transport system, the militarization of the police, the courts and our criminal justice system, the militarization of our educational system and schools, the growing threat to our Constitutional rights and liberties represented by provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that nullify the right to due process, habeas corpus, trial by a jury of one’s peers and punishment consistent with the crime for U.S. citizens who are supposed to be guaranteed those rights under our Constitution; and

Whereas, U.S. Labor Against the War with which this council is affiliated, has called upon its affiliates and all unions and their members to strongly protest this violation of our basic rights and has launched an “Open Letter” to President Obama to express those objections; and therefore

Be it resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council expresses its strong protest to the deployment of military forces against workers and their unions by the federal government, in Longview or any other domestic labor dispute; and

Be it further resolved, that the Alameda labor council will send to the President and members of the Congressional delegation in its jurisdiction a letter expressing these objections with a copy of this resolution, and will urge its affiliates to take similar action, as well as to encourage individual union members and supporters to sign the “Open Letter” posted at; and

Be it finally resolved, that the Alameda Labor Council will send a copy of this resolution to the California Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO and its sister councils in the Bay Area with a request for concurrence.

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