International Longshore and Warehouse Union Coast Committeeman Leal Sundet was not speaking in hyperbole Monday when he said the jurisdictional dispute in Portland between the ILWU and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is far from over despite a labor board ruling in favor of the electrical workers.
Sundet lashed out at the National Labor Relations Board for its decision Monday that the IBEW, not the ILWU, has jurisdiction over work on refrigerated containers at the Port of Portland. Sundet implied that the NLRB ruling is worthless because it will be superseded by the coast-wide contract between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association.
Sundet said Portland’s terminal operator, ICTSI, and the carriers that call at Terminal 6, including Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hapag-Lloyd, are members of the coast-wide bargaining agreement that covers all waterfront employers on the West Coast.
PMA President Jim McKenna agreed with Sundet that the jurisdictional dispute in Portland is not over. “There will still be more twists and turns,” McKenna said.
When Portland two years ago awarded ICTSI the contract to operate Terminal 6, ICTSI joined the PMA and was supposed to inform the employers’ group of any agreements it had with unions other than the ILWU, McKenna said. ICTSI did not tell PMA that it had a contract with the IBEW, he said.
Sundet was especially pointed in bringing employers to task for not recognizing what the ILWU believes is the supremacy of the coast-wide waterfront contract.
“No matter how much public money the port throws at ICTSI and the carriers, the ILWU/PMA labor agreement that governs all West Coast employers clearly says that Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd must assign this work to ILWU-represented longshoremen,” Sundet said.
McKenna indicated that the industry should stay tuned for further developments. “This won’t go away quietly,” he said.