Port of Portland bucks national trend, keeps labor fight alive

While the rest of the West Coast gets back to work,  labor strife at Terminal 6 endures.

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West Coast port operators and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union tentatively agreed to a five-year deal at the end of last week.

But labor strife at the Port of Portland continues to fester between terminal operator ICTSI Oregon and the local union.

The Portland Tribune reported Thursday that this strife will be Gov. Kate Brown’s “first crisis of her administration”:

“The governor’s office is engaged with both parties and monitoring the situation closely. The efficient operation of Oregon’s ports plays a critical role in the economic vitality of our urban and rural communities,” says Brown’s press secretary Chris Pair.

The governor appoints the commission that oversees port operations. So far, it has not been able to resolve the conflict between terminal operator ICTSI Oregon and the local ILWU union that is continuing after the tentative contract agreement was reached. The local union has been at odds with ICTSI for several years, accusing the Philippines-based company of being anti-union.The conflict already has prompted Hanjin Shipping, the largest shipping line at Terminal 6, to announce it will pull out on March 9 — potentially threatening the state’s fragile economic recovery because it handles so many imports and exports.

READ ON: Oregon Business policy columnist Joe Cortright writes that the loss of Hanjin will not be as devastating to the state’s economy as the port operators would like you to believe.


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