Home » Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » ICTSI Oregon awarded $93.6M for union’s illegal strike
Portland port

Port of Portland Terminal 6 photo from www.portofportland.com

A US federal jury awarded damages to ICTSI Oregon totaling US$93.6 million in a case against the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and its local chapter in Portland (Local 8) for unlawful labor practices.

ICTSI Oregon is a unit of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) that previously operated Port of Portland’s Terminal 6.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ICTSI noted that the Court has yet to enter judgement on the verdict and once this happens, the ILWU and Local 8 will have 28 days to file post-verdict motions.

“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,” ICTSI Oregon president and chief executive officer Elvis Ganda said.

“The jury’s decision validates ICTSI’s determination to seek justice in an unfortunate situation that impacted many local businesses, communities and the people that depended on Terminal 6 as a vital connection to international trade,” he added.

According to local newspaper The Oregonian, the verdict followed a two-week civil trial before US district judge Michael H. Simon in Portland and years of disputes in court and before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It said ICTSI sought damages of between $97 million and $135 million for its estimated operating losses, figures ILWU said were based on faulty assumptions and inflated numbers as it urged jurors to award no more than $1.3 million.

ILWU, a labor union representing dock workers on the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska, and in British Columbia, Canada, started work stoppages in June 2012. The labor union claimed jurisdiction over jobs relating to plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers, which had traditionally belonged to union electricians who worked for the Port of Portland. It also complained about safety conditions and ICTSI’s stewardship of the terminal.

The Port of Portland and ICTSI Oregon signed a lease in 2010 for the latter to operate Oregon’s only deep-draft international container terminal. The lease is ICTSI’s first venture in the US and is the largest financial transaction in the history of the city’s maritime port, according to the ICTSI website.

According to ICTSI, the dispute led to the port operating below historical levels and prompted shipping lines to stop calling the port.

In March 2017, ICTSI Oregon formally terminated its 25-year lease agreement to operate Terminal 6, but said it would continue to address labor issues.

The contract termination came after major shipping companies in 2015 pulled out of Portland, including its largest customers—Hanjin Shipping, which then had filed for bankruptcy, and Hapag-Lloyd.

In November 2017, ICTSI in a statement said members of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C.) Circuit unanimously affirmed two NLRB decisions stating that the ILWU was guilty of violating federal labor laws.

The D.C. circuit court upheld the NLRB’s findings that the ILWU engaged in deliberate work stoppages and slowdowns, made false safety claims, and engaged in other coercive conduct against ICTSI Oregon and its customers. The court found that ILWU committed these acts to pressure the Port of Portland to reassign the work of plugging and unplugging refrigerated containers at Terminal 6 from the Port’s union-represented electricians to the ILWU.

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