ITF Backs ILWU in Pacific Northwest Grain Dispute
ITF says affiliated international unions will support colleagues in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in a rapidly escalating multi-port labor disagreement.
Published International Transport Federation (ITF) reports allege that grain companies have hired replacement non-union workers to take over work currently being done by ILWU members in case of a lockout in the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. At issue are the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between the union and employers. According to the ITF, negotiations began in late August 2012 and ended without a contract in mid-December.
Acting ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said in a prepared statement, “ITF unions are on standby to help their colleagues in the US. Whether it's on ships or in ports, workers are watching what happens next and planning accordingly.”
According to the ITF web site, 708 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 154 countries are members of the ITF.