An international longshore union and its Portland chapter could owe a former Port of Portland tenant $93.6 million after a U.S. District Court jury decided Nov. 4 that the union used unfair labor practices that damaged the company.
However, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed to delay entry of a judgment for the lawsuit between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and ICTSI Oregon, Inc., until the parties submit post-trial motions, according to court documents. Union attorneys requested the delay just one day after the jury verdict.
The judge also could decide to change the amount awarded, according to Northwest Labor Press, a union-supported newspaper based in Portland. Additionally, the union could ask for a new trial or appeal the jury’s decision.
The lawsuit stems from a years-long labor dispute between ICTSI Oregon Inc. and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, ILWU’s Portland chapter.
The dispute started in 2012 when the union began a “concerted slowdown” to pressure ICTSI after the company used a different union for a job ILWU was entitled to under its industry-wide agreement with West Coast shippers, according to Northwest Labor Press reporting.
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ICTSI said the slowdown drove business away and caused tens of millions in operating losses. The company filed a successful unfair labor practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board in 2012, and the district court case was meant to determine if the union continued its unlawful practices between August 2013 and March 2017.
(ICTSI paid more than $11 million in March 2017 to end its lease with the port early.)
Union attorneys argued that the jury’s Nov. 4 decision could “impose a heavy financial burden ... and the risk of serious collateral consequences, including bankruptcy.” According to the Northwest Labor Press, ILWU’s international group has $8 million; Local 8 has $151,000 in assets.
“While we respect the process, we disagree with the excessive damages award of $93 million, which supposedly compensated ICTSI for lost profits and some additional costs for a five-year period,” said ILWU President Willie Adams. “...We believe the jury’s damages award is inconsistent with the evidence, and we will raise these concerns with the Court, and, if necessary, on appeal.”