Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NLRB Accuses Union of Resuming
Work Slowdown

The National Labor Relations Board is accusing the International Labor and Warehouse Union of not adhering to the stipulations of a restraining order that was put in place by a federal judge last week regarding work at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6.

The NLRB filed a motion with US District Judge Michael Simon July 6, asking him to find the union in contempt of court for not complying with an order the judge issued July 3. In his order, Simon barred the union members from “engaging in slowdowns, stoppages, withholding of services, or threatening, coercing or restraining ICTSI Oregon Inc., or any other person engaged in commerce” over a 10-day period.

On July 4, the Cape Manila, a 696-foot container ship operated by German-based Hapag-Lloyd called at Terminal 6 and no problems with work flow were reported during the day.

But according to the port and labor relations board attorney Ann Pomerantz, union workers have continued to conduct a work slowdown in the days since the ship’s arrival. Typically, about 27 containers are moved per hour at the port, but in the days since the restraining order was put in place, about 22 cans are being moved hourly, the port has estimated.

The NLRB is requesting an expedited hearing on the matter. The next container ship arrival at the port is scheduled for later this week.

Under the labor dispute, the ILWU says its contract with the Pacific Maritime Association requires the terminal operator to hire longshore workers to handle the plugging and unplugging of refrigerated containers, work that until recently had been performed by another union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The ILWU, which has previously denied conducting a slowdown has so far declined to comment on the court filing.