Powells, Longshoremen & Weapons Training

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I got a call today from a friend who works at Powells, the famous book store in downtown Portland. They had a pretty big scuffle several years ago with managment when they unionized, I believe through the Longshoremen. At any rate, my friend was passing their union reps number on to me cos apparently he reads my magazine and they are sponsoring a series of events training the workers on proper use of firearms. Seems they have already arranged for an NRA instructor to teach a class for them, but are skitish beause of that organizations notorious affiliation with regressive right wing causes. Therefore they want me to be involved in some capacity, though I'm not sure to what extent yet. We'll have to see what happens but I'm excited to be of service. Of course there is a strong connection with gun rights and organized labor, from the 19th century "Lehr und Wehr" worker militia to the mining wars in Apalachia and a modern day militia group started through the aerospace union at Boeing in Seattle which several friends of mine belong to.
 
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So, I talked with the Longshoremen union rep today and apparently thirty Powells employees have signed up for their shooting classes so far- about 75% women I was told. Most have no experience with firearms so they would like me to be included to both report on the events, along with hopefully other local media, and also increase the number of more knowlegable participants for safety.

It's called good news, kids
 
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One thing you might want to mention in your training endeavors with the union members. If they are ever involved in a labor dispute (strike) they Cannot possess any sort of firearm in the area of the property owned by their employers, period. This is Federal law and trumps any sort of State CHL anywhere. If they are ever caught carrying on a strike line, that is a violation of Federal Labor law , and they can be subjected to arrest and can also expose their union to a whopping fine (a number followed by lots of zeros).
You might also want to look closely at your own personal liability in regards to providing training in such a venue. When you consider the realty of what is going on right now all over the country at worksites with plant closures, cutbacks, and a general feeling of insecurity, you are already looking at powderkegs. I have seen many a strike line, and the one thing they all have in common is flared tempers, bruised egos, chest thumping, and at least a few screwballs who think its standard operating procedure to theaten people who may not be on their particular side of a dispute. Now, add some firearms to the mix..... I dont think I need to elaborate further.
 
... Of course there is a strong connection with gun rights and organized labor, from the 19th century "Lehr und Wehr" worker militia to the mining wars in Apalachia and a modern day militia group started through the aerospace union at Boeing in Seattle which several friends of mine belong to.
Interesting comment. I have noted that the big unions tend to push their members toward the Democratic Party, and that the Democratic Party has consistently been the most anti-gun party. At least that is how it has appeared to me over the past 50 years. I have been wrong about things before and perhaps this is another case of the same. I would like to learn more about this.
 
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AGCR,
This sounds like great news to me. It's sad that more groups of all stripes do not get behind supporting our human right to armed self-defense. I'm very curious to hear about what is covered in the training they do. And good points to consider from ob1 and The Quiet Man. From my own experience, I've found that your average union member, as opposed to paid leadership, tends to be just like anyone else when it comes to guns and if anything is a bit more pro-gun than many folks.
 
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To answer several questions:

The Longshoremen are sponsoring the classes as teambuilding exercises with a focus on life skills. I don't know why exactly why, that's a question I'd interested to find out. Maybe next year they'll teach organic gardening.

Unions do tend to support Democrats, but in labor politics, there's just as much complaining about the leadship and Dems betraying their ideals as it seems to gun owners that Republicans and the NRA are inconstant supporters. Of course that's barely a comparison. The American unions were crushed in the early 20th century and never really recovered. Which is where the Federal law mentioned surely dates from. There was a time when mining and railroad trusts could count on their buddys in Washington DC to either ignore their lethal crackdowns against employees or send in the national guard as reinforcement, for example the Ludlow Massacre, 1914. I'll cut short the history lesson, but my point being- early American labor activists, from the Lehr und Wehr to the Wobblies, were seldom pacifists. They were liable to be killed en mass for opposing child labor or supporting a minimum wage and armed themselves accordingly. I'm glad to see the Longshoremen resurrecting in a small way that noble past.
 
I'm in the local Steam/Pipe-Fitters Union, and although like most unions there are members who are HARD CORE lefties who LOVE the "Kool-Aid", I'm politically "right of center", and a large number of our members are too... you'd be AMASED at the number of avid outdoors-"people" who are rank-and-file union members.
 
Excellent! This is precisely why NWFA stakes no claim on the political spectrum. This is and always will be a one issue community. If they'd be willing to hand out some NWFA cards at the class I'll drop some off ;)
 

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