Letter from a Reader: The ILWU Fight in Longview, Washington

Workers Action

We received the letter below in response to Mark Vorpahl’s article titled The ILWU Rises to the Challenge. It is a vivid account of the impact the struggle in Longview, Washington is having on personal lives and has not appeared in the corporate media.

Dear Mark,

As a wife of a ILWU Local 21 member & also a Business Owner in the community here in Longview, WA…My husband & I personally thank you for this article. Not only has your article reflected a true story…but also provided many of us the opportunity to share it with so many others around us in hopes that they can understand the real reason for our battle. With our local media/newspaper utilizing sad tactics of deceit, deception & twisted truths, our fight is to help those around us to understand why. Unfortunately, along with the media portraying incorrect information, our law enforcement as well as played their part in unethical tactics.

Just this last week ILWU Local 21 & their families all came together to stand strong & gathered in front of the county courthouse. The attempt was for many Local members to turn themselves in for charges they had not been formally informed of. These charges were misdemeanor trespassing charges for accessing EGT property. Here we stood for over an hour waiting for the authorities to take into custody the men/women they had been apparently in search of. But Chief Mark Nelson nor his deputies responded or acted.

Instead, we left the courthouse after no response, and attempted the return to our jobs. To our surprise, Chief Nelson ordered a Lock Down of the Longview Port claiming incorrect statements so that nobody could return to work on the port that day. He had officials arrest these members 2 hours after the courthouse event as they were picking up their children at school, followed a man for miles until arresting him in a church parking lot in front of his kids, in many of their homes & in their front yards with their families.

Local 21 members have been willing to go peacefully & our law enforcement has been using such excessive force, that we are resulting to video taping each moment. A full take down with 9 officers to one man over a misdemeanor charge…such a sad portrayal to our families & community. Now I have to educate my 9 year old son & 5 year old daughter…that policemen may arrest daddy at any moment. Not only do I live in fear that my husband may be taken down in front of my children, while dropping them off for school for that matter…. But I live in fear of the impact this may leave on them & their image of law enforcement.

Again, thank you.

Warmly,

K.W.

Longview, Washington

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