PortandTerminal.com, December 3, 2019
“How a feud over two jobs tipped the West Coast longshore union toward bankruptcy”
SEATTLE, WA – If you enjoyed watching Netflix’s “The Irishman”, you’re going to love this story. It doesn’t get crazier sounding than this. Los Angeles Time’s reporter Richard Read published a piece a few days ago about how a longstanding feud over two dockworker jobs may just end up putting the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) into bankruptcy.
The story boils down to this
In 2012, the ILWU tried to pressure a container terminal operator, ICTSI Oregon, at the Port of Portland to hand over two jobs being done at the time by workers of another union. That’s right. All of this boils down to a beef over two dockworker jobs.
When they didn’t get what they wanted, the ILWU started making life difficult for ICSTI by sabotaging shipping traffic through labor slowdowns and work stoppages. This went on for four years.
As a result of the ILWU’s shenanigans, shipping lines started abandoning the Port of Portland. In February 2015, ICTSI’s largest customer Hanjin Shipping announced it would no longer call on Portland. Soon after, Hapag Lloyd followed suit and stopped calling on the Port of Portland as well. Who could blame them? The boxes weren’t moving.
Finally, in 2017 ICSTI Oregon had had enough and bought its way out of its 25-year contract to operate the container terminal at the Port of Portland. Getting out of the contract with the port cost ICSTI $20 million.
Understandably, ICSTI Oregon was upset and took the ILWU to court to sue for their losses which they claimed were $135 million all totalled. They won. Earlier this month a jury in U.S. District Court in Portland found in ICTSI’s favor in a federal lawsuit and told the ILWU to pay the company $94 million in damages.
Payback’s a bitch
They say that payback is a bitch. The ILWU doesn’t have the money to pay the lawsuit they just lost and may go bankrupt as a result.
The judge who presided over the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon, had this to say:
“The amount of damages found by the jury is quite high and may result in the bankruptcy of a union that traces its beginnings to at least 1933 and arguably into the 19th century,”
Judge Simon plans to hear arguments Feb. 14 on whether he should uphold or trim the award.
Other articles you may find interesting
Copyright © 2019 PortandTerminal.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.