Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Labor board rules in favor of electricians over ILWU at Port of Portland
The National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of electricians over longshoremen on Monday regarding two hotly disputed waterfront jobs involved in plugging, unplugging and monitoring refrigerated shipping containers at the Port of Portland, Ore.’s container terminal.
"There was clearly not any doubt in our mind this was always the work of the IBEW," said Clif Davis, Local 48 business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 48 to the Oregonian of the decision.
The three-member NLRB panel ruled the Port of Portland has jurisdiction over the reefer container work that dates back to a 1984 agreement with the union, and that the electricians have been performing the reefer box work since 1974.
“Where, as here, a union is claiming work for employees who have not previously performed it, the objective is not work preservation, but work acquisition," the NLRB’s ruling said.
The summer-long, contentious dispute at Oregon’s biggest seaport that pit the ILWU and its employer group, the Pacific Maritime Association, against the port, Manila-based terminal operator, ICTSI, and the IBEW, reportedly caused major cargo back-ups and container-ship diversions to other Pacific Northwest container ports until a resolution was in hand.
The Oregonian had previously reported the cost to shippers to transport freight from Seattle to Portland during the dispute brought an extra estimated cost that ranged from $600 to $1,000 per day.
Longshore coast committee member Leal Sundet said in an email to the Oregonian of the NLRB ruling that "the ... decision does not bind PMA or its member carriers."
Sundet also stood by the union’s stance over the two reefer jobs in a statement: "The ILWU/PMA labor agreement that governs all West Coast employers clearly says that Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd must assign this work to ILWU-represented longshoremen."
However, the NLRB ruling stated: "ICTSI has no authority to control the disputed work, [and] the Pacific Coast Longshore Contract Document is not relevant."
ICTSI has been running Portland’s only container terminal for over two years.
Whether the ILWU will attempt an appeal in federal court in Portland or Washington, D.C. is reportedly unclear, however the union is embroiled in a separate federal court case in Portland that picks up again on Monday that contends there were intentional union worker slowdowns during the dispute.
For the full Oregonian story: www.oregonlive.com
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