US Court finds ILWU guilty of violating labour laws


ICTSI Oregon intends to seek compensation from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union after the US Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia upheld findings from the National Labour Relations Board that the union was in breach of federal labour laws.

NLRB had noted in its findings that the ILWU had carried out deliberate work stoppages and slowdowns, false safety claims and other coercive conduct directed at the terminal operator and its clients between July 2012 and August 2013 at Port of Portland’s Terminal 6.

The court ruled that the ILWU had engaged in such action to persuade port authorities to transfer work on plugging and unplugging reefers already assigned to the port’s union-represented electricians to the ILWU.

As a likely result of the industrial action, two shipping lines, Hapag-Lloyd and the former South Korean flagship carrier Hanjin Shipping, decided not to make port calls at Portland in 2015.

ICTSI Oregon chief executive Elvis Ganda said: “We are extremely pleased with the DC Circuit decisions because this means that the court, as well as the NLRB, confirmed our position that the ILWU’s actions at Terminal 6 violated federal labour law. Our effort continues in federal court here in Portland to hold the ILWU accountable and obtain compensation for the harm it has done.”

Lloyd's List has invited the ILWU to comment.

Separately, port authorities announced this week that Swire Shipping has decided to start a container shipping service at Terminal 6 in light of a recent trade mission to Hong Kong.

Swire will start offering a combination of general, non-containerised cargo and container services from January next year. That will be a key first step in restarting container services at Terminal 6, which had been dogged by industrial action.

Port of Portland executive director Curtis Robinhold said: “The port is focused on giving our local shippers a variety of options to move their goods efficiently.

“Most importantly, this signals that T-6 is open for business. We very much appreciate the growing partnership we have with Swire.”