Temporary labour resolution at Portland

A temporary reprieve for the Portland disputes? A temporary reprieve for the Portland disputes?

Even though the ongoing process to resolve a labour dispute impacting operations at Portland’s Terminal 6 had to be extended until 3 July – it now looks like both parties have reached a resolution, in the interim at least.

Disruption at the terminal followed an unfair labour practice charge by the port last month over costly action by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

The trigger was ILWU’s lawsuit against ICTSI Oregon, over what it calls the violation of a longstanding collective bargaining agreement. The ILWU says its members have lost cargo handling – done by them for decades – since the terminal’s privatisation. The port argues the work was always done by another union - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). A National Labor Relations Board decision is due shortly on the issue.

A port spokesperson told PS that reconvened talks led to an interim agreement that addresses work stoppages and slowdowns at the terminal.

This agreement by ICTSI Oregon, the Port of Portland and the IBEW means that until such time as a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, the ILWU may perform the disputed work historically performed by port employees represented by the IBEW.

Sam Ruda, chief commercial officer for the Port of Portland, said: “We are optimistic that this represents a positive first step in resolving the ongoing issues that have taken place at the terminal.”

Meanwhile, the port has committed to assign other work to its IBEW employees so that they do not suffer any economic consequences due to the lost work assignments.

This temporary resolution appears to have got things moving again quickly for the port – A Hapaq-Lloyd containership will call at Terminal 6 this week.

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