The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the Longshoreman’s Union (ILWU) violated federal law with slowdowns and work stoppages at the Port of Portland in 2012 and 2013. The Union is now on the hook for millions of dollars of damages as they are being sued by the Port and the Company that runs Terminal 6 at the Port for over $30 million. Specifically, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) operates Terminal 6, the only international container terminal. Two international carriers – Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd – left and the overall work has decreased by 30% because of the labor issues. This is a direct loss of work to ICTSI and the Port, but more importantly, others may soon leave or decide not to go to the Port because of the union.
This case will be interesting to follow. Obviously, any economic damage caused by a lawful strike or other economic pressure techniques would immunize the union from this lawsuit. But here, the union will most likely be held accountable for its unlawful actions.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.