Leal Sundet says it’s bad enough that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is getting a raw deal at the Port of Portland. He thinks it’s also getting a bum rap.
For more than a month, a labor dispute has clogged cargo at the port. The ILWU Local 8 has been accused of intentionally slowing work at Terminal 6, the port’s only international container-ship terminal—all in a dispute over two jobs.
WW: Tell me why this isn’t just about two jobs.
Leal Sundet: I don’t think there’s any gained jobs for us or a loss of jobs for the IBEW. You have one rogue employer, is what it amounts to. One rogue employer that wants a special deal for itself.
So these particular two jobs are not necessarily the most valued jobs in the world.
It’s the principle of the thing. It’s the principle of whether or not one of our companies can pick or choose what part of the contract we have with them they are going to comply with. That’s it. It’s unfairly reported as this fight between two unions for two jobs. That’s not what the issue is.
Why are the ships going elsewhere?
The carriers don’t want to violate [our contract]. Remember: It’s their equipment. From a carrier’s perspective, ICTSI is their subcontractor. So if you tell your subcontractor, “I want you to do something with my stuff a certain way,” and a subcontractor says no, what are you gonna do?
Obviously, it impacts Portland financially. The people of Portland can’t be very happy.
Well, they might not be. So they should be upset with ICTSI.