Longshoremen's union, backing up Northwest cargo, sues Port of
Portland terminal operator
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012
As trucks back up at the Port of Portland and beyond, longshoremen and
a port employers group are suing the company that operates Terminal 6,
Oregon’s main international shipping hub.
The longshoremen’s union and the Pacific Maritime Association accuse
ICTSI Inc. of violating a collective bargaining agreement and failing
to abide by contractual obligations to workers and the industry. The
federal suit filed Wednesday asks the court to immediately assign the
work of plugging, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated shipping
containers to longshore mechanics.
The squabble over that relatively mundane but crucial task is backing
up cargo across the Northwest and wreaking havoc at factories that
depend on parts shipped through the terminal in North Portland’s
Rivergate district. Longshoremen are steamed that members of the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are handling the
refrigerated containers, known as reefers. Port managers say
longshoremen are engaging in delay tactics on the job, messing up
operations at the terminal where large international container vessels
pick up and deliver containers.
“Local longshoremen are ready, able and willing to get to work moving
cargo,” said Leal Sundet, coast committeeman for the International
Longshore and Warehouse Union, in a statement released Thursday. “We
hope this lawsuit will stop ICTSI from violating its contract and
clear up the mess it’s causing at Portland’s Terminal 6.”
ICTSI Oregon Inc. managers did not immediately return phone calls
seeking comment Thursday. Drivers calling The Oregonian Thursday said
the line of trucks on North Marine Drive – over a mile at times during
the last two weeks – was longer than ever on Thursday.
– Richard Read, The Oregonian