Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Union Action Shuts Down Portland Terminal

By Mark Edward Nero

Work stoppages by members of two International Longshore & Warehouse Union locals shut down Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland for two days last week, according to terminal operator ICTSI.

The dispute forced a Hanjin container vessel calling at the port to sit at dock until the longshore workers returned to the job.

Terminal 6, the only container handling facility at the port, was closed Oct. 22 and 23 due to what the two longshore union locals say are “multiple pay disputes and associated grievances” associated with the “mismanagement” of the terminal.

“ILWU Local 8 took legally protected collective action against ICTSI in an attempt to resolve specific grievances involving pay issues,” ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said in an emailed statement. “ILWU Local 40, which represents marine clerks, followed Thursday.”

According to an ICTSI spokesman, the workers wanted to be paid for hours on the job that have been disputed by management.

ILWU members have been working without a contract since July 1, when the most recent six-year agreement between the union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents management, expired. The Portland dispute, however, stems from local issues. Last month, an agreement under which ILWU members had been filling two jobs handling refrigerated containers was turned over by the port to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The ILWU and IBEW have been fighting over the jobs for more than two years.

Oct. 24, after the two-day walk off, ILWU members returned to the port and began the process of unloading the Hanjin ship, which was calling at the port on its way to Vancouver, British Columbia.