Today the Port of Portland is filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as two unions vie for the same work jurisdiction at the Terminal 6 container facility operated by ICTSI Oregon, Inc.
Recent work actions by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 8, have significantly impacted container operations at Terminal 6 causing costly delays for area shippers and truckers.
This matter involves a labor jurisdictional claim by ILWU to obtain work that has historically been performed by another union – the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) through the District Council of Trade Unions. The disputed jobs involve plugging/unplugging and monitoring refrigerated containers at Terminal 6.
Unlike the recent waterfront labor dispute in Longview, Wash., the work in question at Terminal 6 has been performed by the IBEW under a collective bargaining agreement with the Port since commencement of terminal operations in the early 1970s. Last year, when the Port transitioned control of container terminal operations to ICTSI Oregon, Inc. under a 25-year lease, continuation of the IBEW work was included in the lease terms.
The Port and its terminal operator, ICTSI Oregon, Inc., fully intend to honor their established contractual obligations to both labor unions. While the Port is not a direct party, it is directly affected – as are Oregon and regional shippers. That is why the Port followed ICTSI Oregon, Inc. in filing an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB.
There has already been a hearing before the NLRB to determine which union was entitled to the work in question. The slowdowns at Terminal 6 started the day after the NLRB hearing concluded. While the matter is ongoing, a NLRB determination should be made in the coming days.
As parties await a ruling, recent work slowdowns and labor disruptions continue to affect truckers, shippers and carriers who depend on the terminal to move their cargo. This includes over 1,000 businesses that use Terminal 6 to get their goods to and from international markets, and a multitude of inland agricultural exporters.
“While the Port acknowledges the inconvenience and uncertainty that this situation is causing, we are committed to working with ICTSI Oregon to uphold all our existing collective bargaining commitments with the IBEW and the ILWU,” said Sam Ruda, chief commercial officer for the Port of Portland.