Federal Labor Board Affirms Ruling Against
by Bill Mongelluzzo
The National Labor Relations Board Thursday affirmed the decision of an NLRB administrative law judge that International Longshore and Warehouse Local 8 in Portland engaged in coercive actions against terminal operator ICTSI during a 10-month period beginning in September 2012.
This latest ruling by the NLRB is the second time in 10 weeks that the board upheld an administrative law judge's ruling that involves ILWU labor actions against ICTSI during a lengthy labor dispute. A residual effect of what began as a jurisdictional dispute in 2012 was Portland losing well over 90 percent of its container business due to low productivity.
If the NLRB decisions are upheld after appeals to the U.S. District Court in Washington, ILWU Local 8 could be liable for millions of dollars in damages, according to ICTSI. The ILWU was not immediately available to respond.
The dispute began in 2012 when ILWU Local 8 claimed jurisdiction over the equivalent of two jobs that for decades had been under the jurisdiction of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. ICTSI charged that the ILWU local engaged in work slowdowns and other job actions.
The NLRB recently issued two rulings regarding administrative law judges' decisions. In the first one issued 10 weeks ago, the NLRB upheld the administrative law judge's ruling that Local 8 engaged in illegal coercive activity from June to August 2012.
In Thursday's ruling, the NLRB upheld an administrative law judge's ruling that Local 8 engaged in illegal coercive activity from September 2012 to June 2013. ICTSI is claiming millions of dollars in damages from the events. The ILWU appealed the ruling involving the period June-August 2012 to the U.S. District Court in Washington. The ILWU could not be reached to determine if it will appeal Thursday's NLRB ruling to the federal court.
Worker productivity at Terminal 6, Portland's only container terminal, deteriorated rapidly in June 2012 and remained at low levels into early 2015, according to productivity assessments by the port authority and ICTSI. Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd this spring ended their weekly services due to poor productivity, and Portland's monthly container handle dropped from more than 10,000 to less than 1,000, according to numbers posted each month on the website of the Pacific Maritime Association.
Elvis Ganda, president and CEO of ICTSI Oregon, said this second ruling by the NLRB in the past 10 weeks should indicate to the ILWU that the work slowdowns and other job actions were illegal. He urged all parties to work together to rebuild the reputation of the port and attract the vital container business back to Portland.
"It is time for the ILWU to accept the validity of the NLRB decisions and to work in a constructive manner with both ICTSI Oregon and the Port of portland to get Terminal 6 back to full productivity, which is critical to our region's economy," Ganda said Friday.
NLRB Deals Another Blow to the ILWU in Portland by Bill Mongelluzzo, Journal of Commerce, 10/2/15
Port Terminal Operator takes Victory Lap after Labor Board Upholds Union-scolding Ruling by Andy Giegerich, Portland Business Journal, 10/2/15
Judge's Ruling on Labor Actions Doesn't Silence Union-Port War of Words by Jim Redden, Portland Tribune, 10/1/15
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