PRESS RELEASE: Occupy Caravan to Longview
For immediate release - Jan 18, 2012
West Coast Occupiers will travel to Longview to stop grain shipment
Caravan and protest planned in response to the labor struggle, food justice issues, and environmentally destructive practices of EGT and Bunge corporations
Portland, OR - Occupations from across the West Coast are planning to converge in Longview, Washington when the first ship to be loaded for export arrives at the new EGT grain terminal later this month. Occupy Portland, Occupy Oakland, and Occupy Longview all passed a resolution calling for the Occupy Movement to come together in Longview to stop “EGT's attacks on our communities, our food supply and the jurisdiction of West Coast Longshore workers.”
Occupy is responding to the call to action from the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Counties Central Labor Council asking that “friends of labor and the 99% everywhere come to the aid” of the Longview community. EGT recently completed construction of a tax-payer subsidized grain elevator at the Port of Longview that the company is attempting to operate with non-Longshore Union workers.
EGT Development is owned primarily by Bunge Ltd, an international agribusiness holding company. Bunge has been accused of tax avoidance and of breaking labor laws in Brazil and in Argentina. Bunge North America has a history of union disputes and union busting in the United States. According to Greanpeace and Rainforset Action Network, Bunge, though soybean production, is a major contributor to rainforest destruction. They have also been accused of buying soy from plantations in Brazil blacklisted for using slave labor.
“Our demands of EGT and Bunge are based not only in worker’s rights, but also in food justice, environmental justice and international solidarity. Bunge is a Wall Street firm, a corporate leader in the race to the bottom, and now they are targeting the people in our community,” says Kari Koch with Occupy the EGT working group.
The empty grain ship is expected to arrive sometime in January with an armed Coast Guard escort. This is the first known use of the US Military in a labor dispute on the side of management in over 20 years. The San Fransisco Labor Council has condemned this use of the Coast Guard.
Thousands of people, members of Occupy, union members, activists, the 99%, from all over the West Coast are expected to join Occupy Longview and the people of Longview to protest the loading of this ship and the actions of EGT and Bunge corporations.
Information about the caravan can be found at www.OccupyTheEGT.org.
* Correction: Previously this release incorrectly said the use of the Coast Guard is the first known instance of military intervention on behalf of management in 40 years. However, National Guard were called out in Arizona to bust the 1983 Phelps Dodge Miners’ Strike.