On this day in labor history, the year was 2011.
That was the day hundreds of ILWU strikers blocked railroad tracks near Longview, Washington.
They hoped to stop grain shipments from moving in and out of the EGT Grain Terminal.
Longshoremen had been sitting down on the tracks throughout the summer resulting in over a hundred arrests.
No trains had moved in or out of the terminal since July.
But then a federal judge issued an injunction against ILWU pickets.
BNSF railroad tried to move grain once again.
ILWU picketers in Vancouver were able to hold off the train until police forcibly dispersed the crowd.
Then hundreds gathered at Longview to block the train from coming in.
That’s when police went on the offensive.
They used clubs and pepper spray against the longshoremen, arresting 19.
They threw ILWU president Bob McEllrath to the ground.
Rumors spread that police had broken his arm.
Hundreds of regional longshoremen rushed to Longview.
The Seattle and Tacoma ports shut down in protest.
The next morning, 10,000 tons of grain were opened onto the railroad tracks.
The grain export terminal was the first to be built in the Pacific Northwest in almost 30 years.
EGT hoped to undercut the powerful ILWU, who controlled operations at the port since its founding in the 1930s.
The union refused to agree to work 12-hour shifts at straight time.
The EGT hoped to break the hiring hall by refusing to recognize maintenance and inside workers at the terminal.
Then they attempted to fill jobs with workers from the Operating Engineers.
But the ILWU persevered.
By the end of January, EGT backed off many of its demands, negotiations resumed and days later the contract was signed.