Longshore union pulls out of national AFL-CIO

Picketers outside a Columbia Grain facility in Portland, July 15, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Picketers outside a Columbia Grain facility in Portland, July 15, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The West Coast longshore union is cutting its 25-year affiliation with the national AFL-CIO because groups affiliated with the umbrella organization have been crossing picket lines at Northwest grain terminals.

Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, explained the decision in a letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. A copy was obtained by The Oregonian newspaper.

Dockworkers at grain terminals in Portland and Vancouver, Wash., have been locked out of jobs for months, and McEllrath says affiliates have been “blatantly” crossing picket lines on a daily basis.

His letter also states that the ILWU has become frustrated with the AFL-CIO’s “overly compromising” positions on labor law reform and other issues.

McEllrath notes the union has been independent for most of its history and is returning to that tradition.

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