Japanese union leader lends support to ILWU

first_imgFusao Ohori, a Japanese union leader who’d flown from Tokyo to support locked-out union dockworkers in Vancouver and Portland, leaned in Friday to answer a reporter’s questions when the gray van, its windows obscured, suddenly reappeared at the metal gate.The vehicle had delivered non-union workers to the United Grain Corp. export terminal at the Port of Vancouver a few minutes earlier. Ohori had joined picket longshore workers who have been frozen out of work since late February in a larger contract dispute between International Longshore and Warehouse workers and grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest.As the van approached, several ILWU members rushed to catch Ohori’s attention. Someone handed the visitor a yellow picket sign. Quickly, he joined the union workers at the gate to help send another message to those inside the vehicle.One of the picketers, having finished marching in front of it, broke an initial silence: “Lord loves a workin’ man,” he screamed, “but he doesn’t love you, scab!”Friday’s event punctuated the tension surrounding a lockout that’s been under way for more than three months. It’s prompted local government leaders to call for a resolution. It’s triggered opposing charges at the National Labor Relations Board. It’s given Eastern Washington grain growers jitters about getting their products to market. And it’s drawn attention from international labor groups.last_img

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