An International Longshore and Warehouse Union member was arrested on felony charges stemming from an ILWU protest at a West Coast grain terminal after a witness identified him from an obscenity-laden Internet video.
Ronald Patrick Stavas, an ILWU member from Kelso, Wash., was arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, intimidating a witness and sabotage, the Cowlitz County sheriff said. Stavas’ bail was set at $50,000.
Stavas was identified as one of the hundreds of ILWU members and supporters who tussled with guards and spilled corn from train hopper cars while protesting the hiring of non-ILWU workers at the EGL grain elevator in Longview, Wash.
The union contends EGT’s lease agreement with the Port of Longview requires the hiring of ILWU members. EGT disagrees and hired a contractor that staffed the elevator with members of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday on whether the ILWU’s protest violated a court restraining order. The National Labor Relations Board plans a hearing next month on whether the ILWU illegally interfered with EGT’s contract with the operating engineers’ union.
The dispute spilled over to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma last week when ILWU dockworkers briefly halted work in support of the Longview protests. The Seattle-Tacoma work stoppage ended after the Pacific Maritime Association secured an arbitrator’s back-to-work order.
The Longview protest comes as the ILWU is negotiating a new contract with the Pacific Northwest Grain Elevator Operators, an associating representing privately operated grain terminals.
Longshoremen who work on ships at PNW grain terminals are covered by a separate contract between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association. The shipboard workers’ contract extends through mid-2013.