PORTLAND, ORE. (June 21, 2012) – Federal Hearing to Address Impacts of Labor Dispute
afternoon, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon will hold a hearing related to the
recent slowdowns and disruptions at Terminal 6 – Oregon’s only international
container shipping terminal. An ongoing labor dispute has significantly reduced
productivity and caused costly delays at the facility, which is managed under a
25-year lease with ICTSI Oregon.
Two unions claim
jurisdiction for the same jobs at the container facility. Approximately two
full-time jobs are at the heart of the matter, involving the plugging,
unplugging and monitoring of refrigerated containers.
The jobs in
question have been performed at Terminal 6 since the early 1970s under a
collective bargaining agreement between the Port and its employees, who are
members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Another
union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), is now claiming
jurisdiction for these jobs and demanding that ICTSI Oregon, the Port’s lessee
at Terminal 6, hire them to perform the work.
The National Labor
Relations Board held a hearing in Portland on the jurisdictional issue and that
case is still in process. However, since that hearing, work slowdowns and other
actions by the ILWU have caused significant truck backups, and at times
effectively brought the terminal to an operational halt or near halt. In
response, the Port filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National
Labor Relations Board.
This charge, and
similar charges brought by ICTSI Oregon, will be the subject of the federal
district court hearing on Friday afternoon. The National Labor Relations Board
has asked the court to issue an order restraining the ILWU from continuing
these practices. For its part, the ILWU has also asked the court to award it
the jurisdiction to perform the plugging, unplugging and monitoring of
refrigerated containers at the terminal.
Delays at the
container terminal cause a detrimental domino effect throughout the local and
regional economy, impacting businesses of all sizes. This includes truckers
waiting in line outside the terminal, retail stores that can’t get seasonal
merchandise delivered on time, and farmers facing the added cost of
transporting export cargo to other West Coast ports. Ships, cargo, and
ultimately jobs could very well be diverted away from Portland as a result.
“The Port of Portland, along with ICTSI, will pursue every legal
means possible to end work slowdowns and related disruptions at Terminal 6, a
facility which plays a vital economic role in our region,” said Bill Wyatt,
executive director for the Port of Portland. “Meanwhile, we will continue to
honor our contracts with our employees and tenants.”
About the Port of Portland
Established in 1891 by the Oregon Legislature, the Port of
Portland owns four marine terminals, three airports (Portland International,
Hillsboro, and Troutdale) and five industrial parks. The mission of the Port is
to enhance the region's economy and quality of life by providing efficient
cargo and air passenger access to national and global markets.