ICTSI faces Portland labour lawsuit

20 Jun 2012
Portland – disputes continue at Terminal 6

Portland – disputes continue at Terminal 6

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has filed a lawsuit against ICTSI Oregon over what it calls the violation of a longstanding collective bargaining agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association, stevedores and the union.

The collective bargaining agreement stems back to the privatisation of Terminal 6 back in 2010 - it was meant to safeguard existing stevedores when operational control was relinquished to ICTSI, a member of PMA.

The ILWU stevedores want to continue handling cargo at the terminal which they say they have done for decades. The lawsuit asks ICTSI to reassign the work of plugging, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated containers on the dock back to the ILWU longshore mechanics which they say is part of their contract. Portland argues that this work was always done by another union - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

This lawsuit follows an unfair labour practice charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by the Port of Portland earlier in the month over ILWU industrial actions that were causing costly delays for shippers and truckers at the terminal.

The worry is that ongoing troubles may cause PMA member carriers to bypass Portland. Whilst the port is not involved in the issue, it is directly affected by the actions, as are the shipping lines. The port has confirmed that recent work slow downs and labour disruptions continue to affect cargo flow through the terminal.

Sam Ruda, chief commercial officer, Port of Portland, said: “While the Port acknowledges the inconvenience and uncertainty that this situation is causing, we are committed to working with ICTSI Oregon to uphold all our existing collective bargaining commitments with the IBEW and the ILWU.”

ICTSI refused to make any comment to Port Strategy this week pending the ruling of the National Labor Relations Bureau (NLRB), which is expected shortly.

Portland’s Terminal 6 is the Columbia River’s only deep-draft container terminal. It is a hub for hundreds of thousands of containers to and from the region’s businesses each year.

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