In a press release published by the union yesterday, the union described how dockworkers are traveling to Eastern Washington to help in the effort to fight forest fires.
“I got some angry calls at the beginning of the year – but last week I called those same people back and offered to help save their farms and ranches – and the response was just fantastic,” said ILWU Local 23 President Dean McGrath, who is now leading a caravan of cars and trucks over the Cascades with supplies and 16 volunteers to join the firefighting effort in Eastern Washington.
“We’re bringing 650 'grab bags' filled with beef jerky, power bars, energy shot drinks and other stuff for the front-line firefighters,” said McGarath, “but the volunteers we’re bringing will be the real boost.”
The team of 16 volunteers will be moving supplies that are desperately needed to effectively fight the wildfires. “We know a lot about planning, logistics and how to move cargo efficiently and safely, so it’s a perfect fit for us,” said McGrath, who spent days on the phone to coordinate support with firefighters.
A team of four longshore workers got an early start helping farmers and ranchers last week, and the ILWU said longshoreman Bobby Bobber has been driving a water tanker for 15-hour shifts. Longshoremen Corey Chavez, Derick Phil and Stewie Crockett have been in the field helping farmers rescue horses and livestock threatened by the fires.
Longshore workers on the docks in Tacoma have been helped by donating of $8000 worth of supplies and are gathering contributions at the Tacoma Longshore Credit Union. Workers are set to discuss another round of fundraising at a noontime union meeting Thursday. An additional $5000 was contributed by Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals.