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Kalama Blockade

Posted on 8th May 2013 at 15:53

A protest connected to the lockout at United Grain of Vancouver made its way downstream to Kalama yesterday morning, as pickets were set up on land and on the water, delaying a ship from tying up at Kalama Export. Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the terminal on North Hendrickson Road a little after 7 am, when it was reported that eight to ten picketers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were blocking vehicles from entering the facility. After about a half-hour of discussion, the picketers eventually started allowing vehicles to enter the property, with no arrests or citations reported. Meanwhile, a flotilla of nine boats lined up on the Columbia, blocking the freighter “Mary H” from docking. The 623-foot bulk carrier had taken on a partial load at United Grain of Vancouver, where the ILWU has been picketing since being locked out since February. The Coast Guard eventually boarded one of the boats, reminding the operators about a 200-yard safety zone around these ships. The Coast Guard has been broadcasting alerts about the safety zone for several weeks. They told the boat operators that three of the protesting boats had violated the safety zone, and one skipper was eventually cited. Eventually, all nine boats left the area, with union officials saying that they’d accomplished their mission. It’s reported that the loads in the boat will be separated by a plastic tarp, so union dockworkers in Japan will know which grain was loaded by ILWU members. In comments to the media, ILWU Local 21 President Jake Whiteside says that they’re “not ever going to tolerate a scab boat.” Whiteside says that they’re monitoring the situation, and that protests could become larger and more active.