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Hapag-Lloyd, Hanjin Skip Portland Calls

by Joseph Bonney
The Journal of Commerce, June 22, 2012

Carriers to avoid Oregon port until labor dispute is settled

(Ross William Hamilton) Terminal 6, usually stacked full of containers, has relatively few boxes waiting for shipping abroad, as steamship lines bypass Portland because of labor disputes. Hanjin Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd will skip their weekly vessel calls at Portland, Ore., until there's a settlement to a union jurisdictional dispute that has slowed cargo handling at the port.

The carriers have diverted cargo to Oakland to avoid the problems at Portland, where truckers have been delayed in lines that at times have stretched to a mile.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon will hear arguments Friday afternoon on a National Labor Relations Board request for a court order prohibiting the International Longshore and Warehouse Union from slowing work at the port's Terminal 6.

The ILWU has denied slowdowns and is asking the court to give the longshore union jurisdiction over a handful of refrigerated-container jobs now performed by members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The Port of Portland, meanwhile, has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association against ICTSI Oregon, which operates Terminal 6 under a lease from the port.

The ILWU and PMA contend their coastwide contract requires ICTSI, a PMA member, to hire longshore union members to plug in, unplug and maintain reefer containers. Members of the electricians' union have done the work since the terminal opened 38 years ago.

When the port privatized the terminal and signed a 25-year lease with ICTSI last year, the lease specified that the IBEW would retain the work. ICTSI and port officials contend their lease's job guarantee trumps the ILWU-PMA coastwide contract.

Port Director Bill Wyatt said the number of workers who plug in, unplug and monitor reefer boxes is based on activity at the terminal, but that over a year they average the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

Joseph Bonney
Hapag-Lloyd, Hanjin Skip Portland Calls
The Journal of Commerce, June 22, 2012

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