District Court Tosses Out NLRB's 10K Ruling Against ILWU

Judge says NLRB violated clear statutory mandate when it intervened in longshore union dispute with ICTSI at the Port of Portland last year

By MarEx 2013-06-18 11:39:00

The United States District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman issued an order vacating the National Labor Relations Board’s August 13, 2012 decision in International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 48, 358 NLRB No. 102 (IBEW, Local 48) in which the NLRB intervened in a private contractual dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and ICTSI Oregon, Inc. and awarded work to public-sector employees working for the Port of Portland.  The order is the result of a lawsuit filed against the NLRB by the Pacific Maritime Association on September 7, 2012.  PMA argued in its lawsuit that the NLRB impermissibly denied PMA’s motion to intervene in IBEW, Local 48 and unlawfully expanded its jurisdictional reach to public-sector employees who are expressly excluded from the National Labor Relations Act by Congress.

At the conclusion of the June 4, 2013 hearing that resulted in today’s order, District Court Judge Mosman concluded that the Board had overstepped its reach:

“And what I said tentatively earlier I now say by way of holding that I find that that is what happened here: The agency’s decision did in fact violate a clear statutory mandate, and its explanations for why it did not do so either answer the wrong question or otherwise really fail to take up what it did wrong here, and I am persuaded that it was clear and a violation.” 

The order states that the NLRB “exceeded its statutory authority” by issuing IBEW, Local 48, and the order vacates the NLRB’s decision in IBEW, Local 48 completely.

“This is an extraordinary step for the District Court to take, and it highlights the fact that the Board had no right to interject itself in this manner on behalf of ICTSI,” said ILWU Coast Committeeman Leal Sundet.  “The ILWU is in a dispute with ICTSI about whether or not ICTSI will comply with the collective bargaining agreement that it signed onto by voluntarily becoming a PMA member back in 2010.  ICTSI decided that it didn’t have to abide by its labor agreement with the ILWU and sought help from the NLRB and the Port to avoid adverse arbitration decisions. Today’s court order vacating the NLRB’s 10(k) decision confirms what the union has been saying all along – that the Board’s authority is limited, and that in this case it should have respected our internal dispute resolution process to which both ICTSI and the ILWU are bound.  Neither the NLRB nor the Port of Portland should be using public assets to assist a private corporation that refuses to honor its express commitments to its workforce.”  

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have loaded and unloaded cargo at all West Coast ports since 1934, and ICTSI Oregon leased Terminal 6 from the Port of Portland in 2010. The Port of Portland privatized Terminal 6 in 2010, and in so doing, relinquished operational control of the facility to Philippines-based ICTSI, which also operates terminals in the Philippines, Brazil, Poland, Japan, Madagascar, Indonesia, Syria, China, Georgia, Colombia, Brunei, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Croatia and India.