Portland Longshore Lawsuits Multiply as Union Dispute,
by Richard Read
Litigation in Portland's bitter longshore standoff is backing up farther than cargo, promising a long, hot summer at Terminal 6.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon extended a temporary restraining order banning labor slowdowns through Thursday, when he'll consider holding longshoremen in contempt of court. Simon scheduled court deadlines and hearings into September, meaning that barring some independent breakthrough, Oregon's largest international cargo hub will continue sputtering through the summer busy season crucial to retailers.
Trouble at the Port of Portland is causing steamship lines to bypass the city, disrupting freight across the Northwest and beyond. Shippers are spending hundreds of dollars a container trucking exports and imports to and from Seattle or Tacoma. Longshoremen, who claim two jobs traditionally held by electricians, deny staging slowdowns.
At Friday's hearing in Portland, a lawyer for terminal operator ICTSI Oregon Inc. told Simon that slow work and union turf battles continue, in addition to new problems.
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