The jury award of $ 93 million against the ILWU confirmed a Portland terminal operator’s claim that Local 8 of the ILWU caused it severe losses in profits because it significantly reduced crane productivity at Portland’s only container terminal on and off during a five year period from 2012 to 2017 in a dispute over jurisdiction of two tasks involving the plugging, un-plugging, and monitoring refrigerated containers. I understand these tasks are traditionally performed by members of the Electrical Union.
If this $ 93 million dollar jury award is upheld it could possibly force the ILWU to file for bankruptcy protection, or it could collect assessments from each of its West Coast members.
Work slowdowns have been used as a very powerful tool by longshore unions during contract negotiations. Unfortunately it was the cargo owners which had to foot the bill in the past i.e. pay huge amounts in demurrage charges when their containers were stuck at terminals. Hopefully, the Portland award will make the longshore unions think twice before they engage in future contract negotiations in work slowdowns to resolve disputes in their favor.