ICTSI Wins Portland Port Labour Case Appeal

 16 Nov 2017 11.16am

ICTSI Oregon, the former operator of a Port of Portland container terminal, has welcomed a court's finding that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) broke laws during a work slowdown.

A court threw out an appeal by the union, which represents dockworkers on the US West Coast.

Ruling on November 6, 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously found the union guilty of violating federal labour laws.

Unlawful work slowdowns at Port of Portland by ILWU members took place between September, 2012 and June, 2013, it found.

ILWU members meant to pressure the Port of Portland to reassign the work of plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers at Terminal 6 from the Port’s union-represented electricians to the ILWU, the court found.

Union members also deliberately organised work stoppages and slowdowns, made false safety claims, and did other things to coerce ICTSI Oregon and its customers.

But the court said that that the ILWU “lacked a lawful work preservation objective for the shutdowns."

ILWU told PTI Journal it is appealing the DC Circuit Court’s recent decision.

It noted that the US work safety agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2014 penalised ICTSI Oregon.

This was because it was found to be in violation of more than a dozen worker safety codes, such as not informing employees about potential exposure to airborne lead and improper protection from moving machinery.

Labour disputes with the ILWU have had a lasting impact on Portland Port.

Portland Port's former client Korean shipping operator Hanjin Shipping ceased to call after labour-related divisions arose.

The Port of Portland and ICTSI Oregon in February, 2017 agreed to end their 25-year lease agreement for ICTSI Oregon to operate container Terminal 6.

ICTSI Oregon’s CEO Elvis Ganda said: “We are extremely pleased with the DC Circuit decisions because this means that the Court, as well as the NLRB, confirmed our position that the ILWU’s actions at Terminal 6 violated federal labor law.

“Our effort continues in federal court here in Portland to hold the ILWU accountable and obtain compensation for the harm it has done.”

ILWU said:  "It’s ironic that ICTSI is sounding self-righteous when the United States Department of Labor, through OSHA, found ICTSI guilty of several serious safety violations in Portland, and ICTSI workers around the world have accused the company of safety violations, mass firings, poverty wages, and violations of international labor codes."

Read more: Containerships will resume calls to the US West Coast Port of Portland as Singapore-headquartered Swire Shipping has agreed to begin a service from its container terminal, according to Oregon Live.

  Cargo Volumes and Throughput, Carriers, Politics, Port Governance, Port Planning, Ports