Well, I was curious as to see how the left was handling 9/11, and at one of the bigger lefty sites I found a link to a defense of the strikers — an article that spelled out their grievances and what they’ve been doing about it. And boy howdy, is it enlightening.
Go and read it yourself, but let me summarize: The Longshoreman’s union has a contract with the Port of Longview. A company came in and rented a hunk of dock space, then hired another union to work the docks for them. The first union thought they had the right to that work, and declared a work action (they couldn’t exactly call it a “strike,” as they weren’t doing the work in the first place, but there really isn’t much of a difference, in the big picture), and started making their displeasure known.
After a few incidents, the courts got involved, and issued a restraining order that struck me as a touch redundant: the longshoremen were told that they could protest all they like, but they couldn’t actually break any laws in the process. (Apparently what I consider blindingly obvious needs to be spelled out to unions.) This only pissed them off more, so they ramped up their “work actions” to include overpowering security guards, occupying the docks, wrecking trains, and dumping cargo. This, to most people, would be called “assault and battery,” “kidnapping,” “criminal trespass,” “damaging mass transportation,” and “attacking the nation’s food supply” — the last two fall under the category of “terrorism.”
Now, this is the mentality of the strikers, as drawn by their own words and deeds: they have a “right” to the work now being done by a rival union. It is utterly unacceptable to them that they are being denied the work (meaning the pay and benefits), and in response to that anything is fair game. Their rights trump everything else, including their obligation to obey the law and respect the orders of the courts.
And watching the “union spokesman” Rick linked to (before I could get around to it — curse you, Rick!), it’s very, very clear what their goal is: “respect.”
Now, this isn’t “respect” like most of us think of it. This is “respect” that gangs and bullies and thugs demand — it’s what we normally call and “intimidation.” They want the freedom to assert their demands and have them granted out of fear of what they might do. And they demonstrate this by showing that little things like laws don’t worry them.
The guy Rick featured showed this perfectly. He was confronting the media — and instead of presenting the union’s side of the issue, taking advantage of their presence to win support for their cause, he asserted his strength and aggression to demand that they get away, heaping them with profane insults and repeated threats of physical violence.
At one point in the video, the reporter asks the thug “you’re not part of the PR staff, are you?” The sad thing is — he probably is.