Negotiators representing the Port of Portland and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 28 reached a tentative contract agreement over the weekend, averting a strike by 25 security guards.
The tentative agreement was reached with the assistance of state conciliator Bob Nightingale. It covers marine security guards at Terminals 2, 4 and 6.
“The port feels its contract proposal was not only fair but generous,” said Bill Wyatt, Port of Portland executive director.
The tentative settlement is centered upon assurances that members of Local 28 will continue to perform their current duties regardless of any changes in terminal leases during the term of the contract.
The agreement, which was reached after months of negotiations, runs from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2015.
Local 28 members will now vote, and if they approve the pact, the port commission will review it for approval.
Portland’s Terminal 6 is a container and breakbulk facility that is being leased by ICTSI Oregon. Terminal 4 handles autos, soda ash and liquid bulk, while breakbulk and bulk commodities are handled at Terminal 2.
This is the second labor issue in 2012 in Portland involving the ILWU. The other dispute involves a jurisdictional matter between the ILWU and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers over the equivalent of two jobs. That dispute is under litigation.
Port executives are concerned that such disturbances could result in a loss of business to other ports. “If something like a labor dispute complicates calling here, shipping lines may choose to eliminate their Portland calls, and then it is very difficult to get them back,” Wyatt said.
Recently, the uncertainties prompted Honda to divert a Portland-bound vessel with 2,000 cars to Richmond, Calif. Port officials estimated the diversion had a negative economic impact of about $500,000 on the community.