First Judge, then Arbitrator Tell Longshoremen
by Richard Read
A labor arbitrator called to the Port of Portland's container terminal Wednesday told longshoremen to quit slowing down, a Port spokesman said, a day after a federal judge ordered the same thing.
Longshore union members working on a ship in port moved containers at far less than normal speed, the Port official said, despite U.S. District Judge Michael Simon's ruling Tuesday ordering them to halt an illegal slowdown.
The instant arbitration, the latest of several, shows that problems continue at the Port, where a dispute between unions over a couple of jobs has produced mile-long truck lines and backed up millions of dollars worth of cargo across the Northwest and beyond. The extra costs probably will result in higher prices for consumers.
The continuing trouble also will give further pause to steamship lines considering when, or whether, to resume regular vessel calls in Portland.
Josh Thomas, the Port spokesman, said longshoremen moved only 15 containers an hour Wednesday morning, compared to the normal rate of 27 an hour. "Trucks moving containers within the yard are driving slow," Thomas said, "and having issues queuing up properly at the cranes."
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