PORTLAND — A federal judge has reopened the dispute over which union workers at the Port of Portland should perform the task of plugging and unplugging refrigerated cargo containers.U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman ruled Monday that the National Labor Relations Board overstepped its authority last year when it awarded the work to union electricians instead of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.
Leal Sundet, an ILWU coast committeeman, said Mosman's ruling confirms the union's belief that the NLRB should have respected the "internal dispute resolution process."
The jobs dispute prompted longshoremen to engage in a slowdown early last summer. The action forced truck traffic to be backed up for more than a mile and led two container-shipping lines to briefly divert ships to other ports.