A jury in Longview, Wash., failed to reach a verdict at the weekend in a case in which International Longshore and Warehouse Union President Robert McEllrath was charged with attempting to block a train during a protest at the EGT grain terminal last fall.
The judge in the case has scheduled a hearing Thursday in Cowlitz County District Court to determine in the county will retry the case.
The case became a rallying point for dockworker unions around the world. Some 29 international dockworker delegates from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Denmark and Belgium attended the trial, the ILWU stated.
McEllrath was charged last September with blocking a train that was carrying grain to the new EGT export terminal in Longview. The ILWU was protesting a decision by EGT to hire workers represented by another union.
McEllrath and other union members stood on the rail tracks leading into the terminal. This incident occurred at the height of dockworker demonstrations that resulted in numerous arrests.
After two days of testimony that began Thursday and continued late into the night on Friday, the jury announced that it could not reach a verdict.
After the protests ended late last year, EGT and the union reached an agreement in February 2012 in which the company agreed to hire dockworkers represented by the ILWU. The union noted that since then its members have worked 20 vessels at the terminal.
The Longview protests attracted international attention because EGT is comprised of a consortium of international companies in the grain and maritime industries. Also, if EGT had been able to open the terminal without using ILWU labor, it would have been the first grain terminal in the Pacific Northwest to hire non-ILWU workers.