The court-appointed master who is handling a jurisdictional dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at the Port of Portland delayed his ruling in the case until Tuesday.
Ted Kulongoski, former Oregon governor and former Oregon Supreme Court justice, after conducting a hearing in Portland on Friday, indicated he wanted to give all of the parties in the dispute a few more days to attempt to reach an agreement on their own.
“The matter was continued until Tuesday. Everyone is committed to the process,” said Port of Portland spokesman Josh Thomas. The port authority is also involved in the legal proceedings.
The ILWU has been engaged in work slowdowns at Portland’s only container facility, Terminal 6, for three weeks now. The union charges that the equivalent of two jobs involving the plugging, unplugging and monitoring of refrigerated containers falls under its jurisdiction.
However, the IBEW has been performing that work since the 1970s. When the international marine terminal company ICTSI signed a lease two years ago with the port to operate Terminal 6, ICTSI maintained the terminal relationship with the electrical workers union.
The ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents West Coast employers in negotiating and managing the coastwide dockworker contract, are suing the port authority and ICTSI to turn the work over to the ILWU.
Although the ILWU says it has not been engaging in work slowdowns, several shipping lines have either canceled vessel calls in Portland or intend to do so if work does not return to normal. Hanjin Shipping is diverting its vessels to Oakland. Hapag-Lloyd has a vessel due to call Portland on Wednesday, but will only call if work returns to normal.
Westwood Shipping stated on its Web site that the carrier intends to make its next scheduled call in Portland on July 20.
The National Labor Relations Board has asked the U.S. District Court in Portland to issue a temporary restraining order that would prohibit work slowdowns at Terminal 6.