Longshore union charged $60,000 for work slowdown
In the latest development in the ongoing labor-management dispute at the Port of Portland, a federal judge has ordered the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to pay nearly $60,000 for slowing down work at Terminal 6.
Tne terminal operator ICTSI Oregon says the order by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon shows the union is to blame for the problems at the port.
"Judge Simon ruled that ILWU leadership encouraged ILWU members to engage in unlawful work stoppages and slowdowns and directed and coordinated their actions. Judge Simon also found that, in some cases, ILWU Local 8 officers themselves directly participated in this conduct," ITCSI North American CEO Elvis J. Ganda said.
The money is to be paid to the National Labor Relations Board. It is related to a 2012 ruling by Simon.
The union says the order is nearly meaningless, however.
Its standard procedure when the Board prevails in court to pay market rate attorney fees for their time. The money reimbursed to the Board is based on market rates and is far above their actual expenses so the Board and government actually profit from workers by pursuing litigation against their unions. In this case, though the Board was successful in part, it largely lost, because the Boards pursuit of contempt charges after August of 2013 going forward was denied by the judge. The contempt finding narrowly applied only to work involving refrigerated containers, and only to a limited period of time that ended almost two years ago, says ILWU spokesperson jennifer Sargent.
The order comes too late to prevent the largest shipping line from pulling out of the Port of Portland, however. Hanjin Shipping said it will no longer service Terminal 6, the only deep water port in Oregon, after March 9 because of the dispute. It accounted for around 80 percent of the terminal's business.
ICTSI Oregon has accused the union of continuing to slow down work at the terminal, even after the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association reached a tentative labor agreement several weeks ago. The PMA includes ICTSI Oregon.
Simon ordered the ILWU to pay the money to the National Labor Relations Board. I
KOIN News 6 contributed to this story.