Friday, August 30, 2013

Federal Judge Rules
in Port of Portland Labor Dispute

A federal administrative law judge on Aug. 28 issued a ruling ordering the International Longshore & Warehouse Union to stop disrupting operations at the ICTSI terminal at the Port of Portland, where there’s been an ongoing dispute regarding territorial rights to certain jobs on the docks.

In his 52-page ruling, National Labor Relations Board Judge William Schmidt ruled that ILWU members did not have the rights to a handful of jobs plugging in, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated containers at the ICTI terminal and that the work rightfully belongs to a different union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Schmidt also wrote that the longshore union had engaged in “systematic sabotage” at the terminal during a 10-day period last year during the height of the dispute.

Schmidt’s order directs the ILWU to clearly post notices for 60 days at their Portland offices and San Francisco headquarters admitting it violated federal labor law and that it would no longer make any threats, engage in work slowdowns or stoppages at the disputed terminal. .

The order also directed the ILWU to cease filing nuisance grievances and lawsuits against ICTSI and shipping companies that are intended to hinder port operations. The labor dispute dates back to 2011, when ICTSI Oregon entered into a 25-year agreement with the port to operate the dock at Terminal 6, and chose to honor a collective-bargaining agreement between the port and the District Council of Trade Unions, of which the IBEW is a member.

The IBEW had performed the work since operations began at the terminal in 1974.

The ILWU, however, began to claim that under the collective bargaining agreement between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association – of which ICTSI is a member – longshoremen should be doing the work.

In August 2012, the NLRB ruled that the disputed jobs should go to the IBEW and not the ILWU, which the longshore union appealed.

Schmidt then took a year considering the appeal before issuing his ruling this week.

The ILWU has said it is still reviewing the decision and has not decided whether it intends to appeal the decision.