Ships Bypass Port of Portland as Strike Looms

The Oregonian
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ocean cargo carriers prepare to bypass the Port of Portland because of a strike planned by marine terminal security guards.

The diversions by the giant freighters are expected to snarl cargo, hurt importers and exporters and further damage Portland's reputation as an international freight hub.

Port officials plan to hire workers to replace the 25 longshore union members during a strike. But three Port terminals where the guards work are expected to shut down anyway, because fellow longshore workers who handle cargo assert the right to honor picket lines, reports 'The Oregonian'.

In Portland, a shutdown would freeze millions of dollars worth of goods and force shippers to truck containers to and from Tacoma and other alternate ports. A strike of any length would inflict more economic damage than that caused by missed ship calls and clogged cargo during separate disruptions last summer also involving the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

As the strike looms, longshore workers are considering a final offer by employers in separate negotiations between the union and owners of Northwest grain terminals. A breakdown of those contentious talks could lead to a strike or lockout affecting Portland, Vancouver and Puget Sound grain terminals.

Source: The Oregonian


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