The port says the union workers needed to have a work-related purpose to be in the area, which is governed by U.S. Coast Guard and port policies. Instead, the port says, the workers were picketing, which was not an appropriate purpose.
Kathy Clark, the wife of Brad Clark, a former local ILWU president who was arrested for trespassing in the disputed area, told commissioners Tuesday that her husband is barred by law from making his own statement due to the threat of being re-arrested.
So she read from a statement from him intended, in part, to dispel misconceptions about what happened on June 28. “First, I was granted access to the port with my TWIC” — a security card — Clark said, reading from her husband’s statement. “Second, I was employed by my employer that day and was waiting for my job to start. Lastly, I am one of over 200 members who have a labor dispute with one of your tenants. A tenant that the port allowed to use that gate on that day.”
The port has said it followed legal precedent in allowing a general contractor and subcontractors for United Grain to use a temporary gate and the port’s main gate for a limited time.
Theresa Wagner, the port’s communications chief, said Tuesday the port has “made every effort to be as evenhanded and fair as possible, and we’ll continue to do so.”
Clabaugh told commissioners the union has watched for five months as United Grain brings in “vanload after vanload” of union-breaking, out-of-state security and replacement workers to do the work “of our locked-out membership.”
It’s the first time in his career as a Longshoreman, Clabaugh said, that at the “Port of Possibility,” we are considered a “low work opportunity port.” That means “the port that my family and neighbors helped build can’t supply our 200 members with three days of work a week.”