A member of a Pacific Northwest longshoreman’s union verbally attacked and threatened a news crew that showed up at the union’s local headquarters in Longview, Washington. The confrontation was captured on a video that hit YouTube Friday morning.
“I’m from KGW and I wanted to know if there was anyone here who would want to talk to us about the situation,” a Portland, Ore. television correspondent is seen asking while knocking on the building’s door.
“Actually, if you go down to Miller Avenue, and talk to them dumbasses down there at EGT, they’ll tell you how they’re fucking the Longshoremen around here,” the union member answered from behind the door. “That’s what you can do, so go back to Portland. Bye!”
EGT Development is a contracting company that operates a grain terminal in Longview, Wash., which is at the center of an International Longshore and Warehouse Union work stoppage. The Portland television news crew, from NBC affiliate KGW, proceeded to film papers posted on the building’s exterior wall. That didn’t sit so well with the already clearly upset union member.
On Wednesday in Longview, hundreds of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members, upset over EGT’s decision to hire workers from a different union, stormed the facility and blocked train tracks there, escalating a longstanding labor dispute.
By Thursday, union workers walked off the job at four other Washington ports, including one in Seattle, and a federal judge was warning the ILWU to stand down. The ILWU contends that it did not call for the work stoppage.
“Hey, get your fucking camera out of here, that’s none of your fucking business, you cock bite,” the union member said to the reporter while grabbing his camera. “Unless you want [to be arrested for] trespassing, get the fuck out of here now. Get out of here now! Don’t fuck with me partner!”
A member of the news crew retorted: “You’re not on the PR staff, are you?”
The union member kept threatening the news crew: “You don’t fucking worry about who I’m with. Get the fuck out of here, that’s none of your fucking business, cocksucker. Unless you want trespassing, get out of here.”
A cameraman kept filming the union member, who then approached him and yelled: “You want your fucking camera broke, cocksucker?”
A nearby reporter replied, “We just wanted to hear your side of the story.”
At that point, the union member walked up to another reporter, grabbed his camera and said: “You, fucker, you like your fucking glasses? Don’t fucking threaten me you son of a bitch!”
The reporter responded to the aggresor: “I didn’t say a word my friend.”
Longshoremen are among the best-paid blue collar workers in the country, partly because of union-negotiated contracts. Longshoremen with 10 years’ of experience earn roughly $30 per hour, according to payscale.com, a website that tracks typical salaries across various U.S. careers.
Wages for East Coat longshoremen are moderate because of competition among ports. But nearly all West Coast dock-workers are part of the ILWU, which uses its monopoly to boost wages for its members.
In 2007, average annual full-time wages for 15,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports topped $136,000, according to the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates and administers contracts between ports and the ILWU. Longshoremen earned an average of more than $125,000, clerks more than $145,000 and foremen more than $200,000.
Workers also get benefits packages worth $50,000 per year, according to the association’s 2007 report.
UPDATE: 3:19 p.m.
When The Daily Caller visited the ILWU’s downtown Washington, D.C., headquarters, a woman who worked in the union’s office said no ILWU staffers were there and no one could answer any questions.
Unsatisfied and not believing the young woman, TheDC rang the doorbell on the union office’s locked door, which had no windows. ILWU legislative director Lindsay McLaughlin opened the door and asked, “Can I help you?”
TheDC responded by asking if he would comment on the threats, the physical and verbal attacks, and the disparaging, vitriolic rhetoric his union member used in the video. McLaughlin promptly slammed the door in TheDC’s face, refusing to answer any questions.
Michelle Fields, Neil Munro, and David Martosko contributed to this report.