While other West Coast ports, also employing ILWU workers in their operations, seem able to function smoothly, the thugs at the Portland branch have been causing trouble for years; vandalism, sabotage, slowdowns and walkouts are just business as usual for them, as is refusal to comply with judicial rulings. So it comes as no surprise that they're refusing to comply yet again:
ICTSI Oregon, the company contracted by the port to run its Terminal 6 container operation, on Wednesday said the National Labor Relations Board upheld an administrative judge's ruling ordering the International Longshore and Warehouse Union "to cease and desist from a variety of activities at Terminal 6 in Portland that violate federal labor laws."
Union leaders say a National Labor Relations Board decision regarding alleged work stoppages at a Port of Portland terminal isn't "enforceable or binding."
The union plans to appeal the opinion with a federal circuit court. If that doesn't work, ILWU vowed to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Translation: "We're going to keep doing exactly what we've been doing, no matter what the courts or the NLRB have to say." Thanks to their antics, 80% of the container transport business is gone; the primary shipping lines decided that calling at T6 is a waste of time and money, so they scratched Portland from their lists earlier this year.
Increasingly, ILWU-Portland is making the case for emulating the port at Rotterdam, where container loading and unloading is almost entirely automated. It's not only faster and less expensive, it's also safer - and perhaps most importantly, the computers and robots don't vandalize or sabotage equipment, nor do they stage walkouts or slowdowns.
ILWU-Portland simply holds Oregon's economy hostage. They don't care who gets hurt, as long as their demands are met. And they'll do whatever it takes - legal or not - to achieve that end.