PMA and ILWU File Joint Motion in US District Court in Oregon Seeking Immediate Intervention Against Philippines-based ICTSI for Continuing to Violate Collective Bargaining Agreement in Portland
PMA Member Carriers Have Demanded that ICTSI Comply with Contract it Signed when Joining PMA
On Monday, June 18, the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the employer group and union that load and unload cargo on the West Coast, filed a joint motion seeking a temporary restraining order and injunction in a lawsuit that was filed on June 13 in United States District Court in Oregon against Philippines-based ICTSI, which operates Terminal 6 in Portland.
This is an unprecedented step in the near 80-year relationship between the ILWU and PMA. The lawsuit is an effort to get PMA member company ICTSI to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (Pacific Coast Longshore and Clerks’ Agreement, or PCL&CA) that it signed onto upon becoming a PMA member. The PCL&CA covers approximately 70 waterfront employers in the 26 commercial ports of Oregon, Washington and California. ICTSI gave written assurances to the PMA when it applied for membership that it had no outside labor obligations.
Pursuant to the PCL&CA’s grievance machinery, the ILWU and PMA obtained final and binding contractual rulings that the work currently in dispute at Terminal 6 (plugging, unplugging, and monitoring reefers) must be assigned to the ILWU.
ICTSI’s failure to comply with these rulings threatens the integrity of the Parties’ coastwide agreement and the multiemployer system that has benefited the industry for decades. The effect of ICTSI’s decision to pick and choose which provisions of the PCL&CA to comply with and which to ignore has already had a destabilizing effect on labor relations on the West Coast.
In court documents filed yesterday, the ILWU and PMA explain that ICTSI is blatantly ignoring its obligations under the PCL&CA and openly flouting final and binding contractual rulings, which is imposing immediate and severe harm on the collective bargaining relationship between the ILWU and PMA.
The joint motion reads in part:
Such harm defies any empirical measurement and certainly cannot be calculated in terms of dollars. What is certain is that the longer ICTSI defies the PMA and the other PMA companies, the more uncertainty it generates within the longshoring industry in general and longshore labor-management relations in particular. This can only harm and undermine the necessary daily work of contract administration, and may have implications in the next round of PCLCA negotiations in early 2014, which require full faith and trust that PMA speaks for all its member companies and can secure their compliance with rule-by-majority decisions and other agreed-upon internal procedures.
Leal Sundet, ILWU Coast Committeeman, said:
There has been a lot of talk about the ILWU jeopardizing jobs at Terminal 6, but the focus belongs on ICTSI — not on the men and women of the ILWU. This is an example of what’s wrong with the current thinking: A foreign company leases public property for 25 years, thumbs its nose at the collective bargaining agreement that it knowingly signed when it became a PMA member, pretends a commercial lease somehow trumps a decades-old labor agreement, invokes NLRB intervention when the public port and its employees are not the issue — and the NLRB nonetheless has no jurisdiction over cases involving public port employees — and then the ILWU gets the blame when PMA carriers choose to take their ships somewhere else instead of permitting ICTSI to evade its labor obligations.
PMA member carriers calling at Terminal 6 have demanded in writing that PMA member ICTSI comply with the PCL&CA or risk losing their business. On June 8 and 10, representatives from global carriers Hanjin and “K” Line wrote directly to ICTSI representatives and demanded that the company hire longshoremen in Portland pursuant to their shared collective bargaining agreement. ICTSI continues to ignore its contractual obligations and the demands of its industry peers to resolve this conflict, so the PMA and the ILWU are seeking recourse in federal court.
– Coast Longshore Division news release