The International Longshore and Warehouse Union last week filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Port of Portland, contending the port wrongly stepped into a dispute between the union and the container terminal operator in Portland.
The lawsuit is related to a $4.7 million payment the port paid to the terminal operator, ITCSI Oregon, to help the operator cover losses incurred during a summer slowdown by union members.
The slowdown was in response to ICTSI’s decision to use union electricians to plug and unplug reefer containers at the terminal, with the ILWU contending it should handle the work.
According to a Bloomberg
report, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the electricians handling the work on Monday.
The slowdown significantly hampered port operations, with trucks lined up outside the terminal. A handful of vessel calls were delayed or omitted due to the congestion.
ICTSI, a subsidiary of the Manila-based global operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc., said its 25-year lease in Portland grants the reefer work to electricians.
The ILWU lawsuit calls for an injunction on the payment, with a union official saying the port should not be stepping into a contract dispute, nor should public money be used to do so.
The port said the money would be paid to ICTSI in a lump sum, but would rather come in the form of reimbursements on the operator’s lease payments. - Eric Johnson