The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has filed a lawsuit against the Port of Portland, Ore., alleging numerous ongoing violations of the Oregon Public Records Act.
“Oregonians have a right to know how whether the Port of Portland is irresponsibly managing the biggest public port in our state,” said Leal Sundet, ILWU coast committeeman and member of ILWU Local 8 in Portland, in a written statement. “The port’s lack of transparency is inexcusable, especially at a time when its deals with overseas companies have resulted in attacks on American working conditions and created unrest among its longtime labor force.”
The union said it submitted public records requests in June, September and December of 2012, to which the port responded by sending the union an estimate of $200,000 to identify and locate the requested records. The lawsuit states that the $200,000 quote would only cover what the port labeled as “first phase” costs, and did not include “second phase” costs of attorney and paralegal fees to review and segregate records between exempt and non-exempt information before production of any documents. According to the lawsuit, the port demanded that ILWU pay the $200,000 up front, but that the advanced payment would not necessarily result in production of any requested records.
The union alleges in the lawsuit that the port’s treatment of ILWU’s requests were motivated by “discrimination, retaliation and hostility” because of the union’s participation in ongoing litigation against the port. The union is seeking, among other remedies, that the court issue an order declaring the port’s handling of the requests to be “dilatory, in bad faith and in violation of the Oregon Public Records Act,” issue an order compelling the port to waive or substantially reduce its fees and issue an order compelling the port to produce for the ILWU the non-exempt records it originally requested.