This alert was originally circulated by US Labor Against the War.
Tell the President Obama not to deploy the U.S. military against American workers!
Sign this open letter to the President and Congress.
- Demand that the president order the Coast Guard to stand down and prevent its deployment to Longview or any other labor dispute.
- Tell him to keep the military out of our workplaces, union halls and labor disputes.
Four decades ago, President Nixon mobilized the military in reaction to a national postal workers strike. Ten years later in 1981, President Reagan ordered military air traffic controllers to replace striking members of PATCO. Both presidents were Republicans.
Both were card carrying members of the “1%”, devoted to protecting and advancing the interests of the wealthy and multinational corporations. Both were hostile to organized labor.
Thirty years later a Democratic president, one elected with solid labor support, one who inspired hope and raised expectations, has authorized the Coast Guard to provide armed escort to a ship headed to the Port of Longview on the Columbia River in Washington. The ship is destined for a new $200 million grain terminal owned by EGT, a multinational grain conglomerate. That terminal was constructed with tax payer funded public financing.
It had been picketed by members of ILWU Local 21, whose members have performed all of the longshore work in that port for more than 70 years. EGT – violating its contractual obligations – refused to hire ILWU members to work at its terminal. It wants to eliminate a militant democratic union that has negotiated strong contract protections and good wages for its members over the course of decades of struggle. Once achieved in Longview, it is only a matter of time before the same scheme will be introduced in other ports.
Unless stopped, we are about to witness the militarization of labor relations. The use of U.S. military forces in support of EGT is a dangerous step toward militarization of our society. Step-by-step, our rights of speech and assembly, the protection of habeas corpus, due process and a speedy trial by a jury of one’s peers are being stripped away.
We must not be silent in the face of this steady erosion of our basic rights and liberties. Tell the president not to send the U.S. military against workers in the U.S.