Thursday, August 22, 2013

ILWU Pickets Seattle Port Terminal

Members of International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 19 began picketing the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46 on Aug. 20 in protest of the loss of four tunnel work positions associated with a two-mile, four lane tunnel being constructed in Seattle.

About 30 longshore workers showed up for the first day of pickets at Terminal 46 in response to labor issues surrounding work on the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

The union and project manager Seattle Tunnel Partners signed a contract in April stating that ILWU labor would be used to help load dirt excavated from the tunnel onto barges. But that plan went sideways in July when an arbitrator ruled that the jobs are covered by the tunnel’s broader project labor agreement, meaning that the loading work went to four building-trade workers – two operating engineers and two carpenters – instead.

The replacement tunnel is expected to carry State Route 99 under downtown Seattle from the SoDo neighborhood to South Lake Union in the north. More than 20 projects, including the SR 99 tunnel, are expected to work together to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct while improving freight mobility.

Tunneling beneath Seattle allows crews to replace the viaduct while minimizing highway closures during construction. A new overpass under construction to the west of the stadiums is expected to allow freight and other traffic to bypass a busy railroad track that crosses South Atlantic Street, near the entrance to Terminal 46.

The ILWU says it plans to picket at Terminal 46 until the contractor agrees to re-open negotiations for the jobs.