A judge in Longview, Wash., declared a mistrial Friday after six jurors could not reach a verdict in a trial involving Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
McEllrath was charged with a misdemeanor after 300 union members and their supporters blocked a train last September during protests over plans to use non-ILWU workers at the EGT grain terminal in Longivew.
Eventually the terminal agreed to hire ILWU workers.
After two days of trial, six Cowlitz County jurors Friday could not reach a verdict, and the judge declared a mistrial late Friday night.
The ILWU said 29 dockworkers from around the world came to Longview to support McEllrath and other Local 21 workers. They came from unions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Denmark and Belgium.
The Longview Daily News
Website said McEllrath was the final trial in a series of cases brought in conjunction with the protests last year. It said "dozens of cases involving union dockworkers and supporters have ended in acquittal, conviction, guilty plea or dismissal of charges stemming from protests onnJuly 11, September 7 and September 21." It said those who pleaded guilty have been sentenced to community service and ordered to pay a fine and many had charges dismissed.
An ILWU official said he hoped there would not be a retrial.
"The ILWU appreciates the jury of Cowlitz County citizens that listened to the testimony and examined the evidence related to last year's incident,"
said Ray Familathe, ILWU vice president for the U.S. mainland. "At this point, the ILWU hopes that this result ends this chapter, and that Cowlitz County
can move on with the business of finding good local jobs for local workers." - Chris Dupin