A lawsuit filed on behalf of Local 40 contends that Columbia Grain, which is based at the Port of Portland, wrongfully stopped employing union marine clerks and declined to enter arbitration. The suit asks a U.S. District Court judge to order the company into arbitration with the union.
“There’s no other option to try and get to the bottom of this,” Local 40 attorney Hank Kaplan said Wednesday.
More than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through grain terminals on the Columbia River and Puget Sound, and the past seven months have been full of labor strife.
In late December, Columbia Grain and two other terminal owners implemented management-friendly work rules after declaring contract talks to be at an impasse. One of those owners, United Grain, later locked longshoremen out of their jobs after alleging that a union leader sabotaged company equipment
Those disputes, however, did not involve the clerks with Local 40, who have an existing contract. Kaplan said he believes the sudden loss of work must be connected to the problems between Columbia Grain and other ILWU locals.
“I don’t think the company will pretend that one has nothing to do with the other,” he said. “But as a legal matter, one has nothing to do with the other, and we expect companies to honor their contracts.”
Columbia Grain officials did not return phone messages seeking comment.
According to the lawsuit, Local 40 filed a grievance challenging the lost work on Jan. 21. A few weeks later, the lawsuit states, a Columbia Grain attorney told the local that it would not take part in the grievance-and-arbitration process.
More Northwest Headlines
Drone captures photos of endangered baby orca, mom Police: Oregon man urinated on passengers aboard JetBlue flight Soldier from JBLM missing after skydive near Shelton Judge allows Swinomish tribe’s lawsuit over oil trains to proceed Republican Sen. Andy Hill says he’s not running for governor Inslee: Special session possible if group finds education solution Too few pink salmon prompts Skagit tribe to close fishery Seattle teachers, school officials to resume talks Saturday
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.