After a three-hour hearing Friday in Portland, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon declined to resolve an inter-union dispute over the equivalent of two jobs that has crippled the Port of Portland’s only container terminal for three weeks.
Simon appointed former Oregon Governor and Oregon Supreme Court Justice Ted Kulongoski as special master for settlement purposes in the hope he could resolve the 3-week-old dispute that has crippled container operations at the port.
The ILWU says ICTSI, which took over operation of Terminal 6 two years ago, should hire members of its union to plug, unplug and monitor reefer containers, rather than members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. ICTSI says it is bound by its lease agreement and that the IBEW has performed the work since the 1970s.
ILWU work slowdowns the past several weeks have resulted in long truck lines at Terminal 6. Container lines Hanjin Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd suspended their calls in Portland on Saturday, and their vessels will not return until the dispute is resolved.
The ILWU denies it is engaging in slowdowns and said the union is responding to safety issues at the terminal.
The battle also is being fought at the federal agency level as the National Labor Relations Board has asked Simon to issue a temporary restraining order to prohibit the ILWU from engaging in work slowdowns.
Kulongoski will call the parties together on Monday morning. His salary will be paid 50 percent by ICTSI, 25 percent by the ILWU and 25 percent by the PMA.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @billmongelluzzo.