ICTSI Oregon wins US$93.6m in court battle with unionised dockworkers
ICTSI Oregon, the operator of the port of Portland's Terminal 6 from 2011 to 2017, has been awarded US$93
ICTSI Oregon, the operator of the port of Portland's Terminal 6 from 2011 to 2017, has been awarded US$93.6 million by a US federal jury, after members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) were found to have carried out illegal work practices, including work slowdowns and stoppages.
A dispute arose with the ILWU after the union contended that its members should be performing 'reefer work' at the terminal. This included plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers and monitoring the equipment. The work was carried out by members of a different union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, reported American Shipper.
ICTSI said it did not have the authority as to who performed the reefer work and that the port of Portland retained control over the work.
At prior proceedings it was determined that the ILWU and its Local 8 had engaged in unlawful job actions between May 21 2012 and August 13 2013, over the reefer work dispute.
Based on earlier proceedings, US District Court Judge Michael Simon said the court accepted as proven fact that 'between June 1 and June 10 2012, ILWU members engaged in slowdowns, work stoppages, safety gimmicks and other acts with the objective of obtaining the reefer work for ILWU members, which constituted unlawful labour practices' and that union leaders had threatened that containerships would not continue to do business with ICTSI in Portland.
ICTSI claimed that unlawful job actions continued until it closed down the terminal in 2017, causing it harm and damages.
The Portland Oregonian newspaper reported that the union's attorney said any continuing job actions were related to bargaining for a new contract and were legal.
The ILWU contended any poor production experienced at Terminal 6 after August 2013 was caused by ICTSI's creation of a hostile work environment, including retaliating or taking reprisals against ILWU members for their initial pursuit of the dockside reefer work and for other lawful union activity.
The union also contended that ICTSI's closure at Terminal 6 was caused by 'ICTSI's own mismanagement, the constraints of the Columbia River regarding oceangoing shipping and the financial troubles faced by the ocean carriers themselves that were unrelated to any actions taken by the ILWU or Local 8.'
ICTSI Oregon chief executive officer North America Elvis Ganda was quoted as saying: 'We are grateful to the jury for its diligence in dealing with a very complicated case and holding the appropriate parties responsible for violations of the law that resulted in the critical impairment of operations at Oregon's only container terminal.'