Saturday, July 7, 2012

Region Longshoremen Accused of Deliberate Slowdown, Crippling River Traffic

Posted By on Sat, Jul 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM

A federal judge has been asked to hold dockworkers in contempt because they are defying a court order to work faster. The National Labor Relation Board said the slowdown is backing up cargo traffic along the Columbia River system, all the way to Idaho's Port of Lewiston.

According to the Associated Press, longshoremen unloaded fewer containers per hour than normal on Wednesday morning, one day after U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a 10-day restraining order, requiring dockworkers to end their slowdown that disrupted shipping.

An NLRB spokeswoman said longshoremen purposely stopped their work in Portland, Ore., asking for instructions on work that they were already trained to perform.

The slowdown escalated in June in the wake of a dispute between port management and longshoremen and electric workers. According to the AP, the unions disagree about which workers should plug in and unplug refrigerated shipping containers—the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

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