Business groups are accusing the longshoremen’s union of causing a log jam at two Washington state ports over a contract dispute.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents 70 shipping companies, says that the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) is “crippling” the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle, which handle 16 percent of all imports.
“We have been told that ILWU business agents sent the slowdown orders out late last week,” PMA spokesman Wade Gates said in a Monday release.
PMA said the union has “orchestrated” the slowdown and that productivity at the ports has plummeted in the last few weeks. The ports are running 40 to 60 percent slower than normal business operations, according to the PMA. The union has also purposefully failed to meet the labor needs to run the ports, according to PMA allegations.
“ILWU is not filling orders for skilled workers, including straddle carrier operators who are critical to terminal operations. This is like sending out a football team without the receivers or running backs. You can’t run the plays without them,” Gates said.