Washington state grain inspectors face threats of death – according to the head of the State Department of Agriculture – if they dare cross the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s picket lines at the Port of Vancouver. Unfortunately for these state employees, and an important Washington State industry, Jay Inslee is choosing to side with the union against our economy.
This matters to people across the state because in order for grain exports—a billion dollar industry in Washington State—to be shipped,the grain must first be inspected. However, the Longshoremen’s ongoing strike and the death threats that seemingly go along with it,make inspections a challenge.
Inslee does not seem too concerned over this dilemma, or the Longshoremen’s death threats toward state grain inspectors. Eight months ago, the state committed to providing security for the inspectors, however Inslee recently withdrew that state police protection. His decision effectively placed an end to state inspectors’ ability to continue performing their jobs. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also refused to put its inspectors in life-threatening danger.
Hector Castro, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, went on the Lars Larson Show to discuss (an attempt to defend) Inslee’s decision. Castro told Larson that Longshoremen’s harassment of state grain inspectors has escalated over the course of the 1 ½ year strike. According to Castro, state inspectors faced harassment even under the protection of state police.
The Longshoremen’s death threats are a part of the union’s ongoing labor dispute with the United Grain Co., an “agro-industrial company that provides handling and marketing of grains.” The Columbian,
“United Grain Co. locked out the International Longshore and Warehouse Union from its Vancouver facility in February 2013 as part of a labor contract disagreement, which resulted in picketing activity at the site’s entrance. The terminal has continued to operate with company managers and non-union employees.”
Larson points out that by choosing to withdraw state police protection Inslee has sent a clear message: The governor of Washington State is taking the side of the Longshoremen, despite the death threats they issued. Under the protection of the police, grain inspectors have been able to do their job and inspect the outgoing cargo. In turn, United Grain Co. has been able to ship its cargo to the benefit of the state’s economy. Without police protection, inspectors cannot do their jobs— the government will not put grain inspectors in life-threatening situations in an attempt to do their jobs. Without inspectors, grain will sit in warehouses at potentially large economic costs to the state.
Inslee’s withdrawal of police protection forces United Grain Co. to essentially negotiate under threat and — if the conflict is to be resolved and the grain exported—bend to the Longshoremen’s demands. The company previously refused to continue meeting with the union, citing that it has gone as far as it will in negotiations.
The conflict has reached an entirely deplorable level which Inslee has only added to by taking sides. The Longshoremen threatened the lives of state employees—a fact that Castro readily admits— yet Inslee is rewarding them for this deplorable approach.
Larson wraps-up his interview with Castro by asking him, “If there was a bunch of people that were so dangerous that state employees might be hurt or killed by them for crossing a picket line, would you want to sit down and negotiate with people like that?” Castro, dodging the question, answered that “no one should have to be harassed just for showing up for work.”
You can listen to the entire interview here.
Odd threatening someone’s life is a felony,why aren’t the people making the threats arrested. If the union representative knowingly admits it and agrees,that is a conspriacy,since it is also inter-state RICO kicks in. Throw them all in jail,it seems to me the union is trying to get there way threats ,harassment and intimidation.
Robin Hood says
Lack of proof, comes to mind….
Robin Hood says
Odd, I didn’t read a single attributed quote threatening anyone’s life ??
Oh right…. “IF” = bagger proof…
Radio Randy says
Yep…I’m sure they made the whole thing up…
Just like a Lib to deny the facts.
Robin Hood says
Yep, lack of proof means someone needs to find some, to make the claim….
BTW- You owe me $50k, why would I make that up ?
Robin Hood says
So, Inslee wants the private business to negotiate & doesn’t want to provide OUR tax dollars to fund their lack of progress… Seems fair, to me.