Oregon Public Broadcasting

A federal judge on Tuesday morning ruled that the longshore union was engaged in an illegal slowdown at the Port of Portland.

At issue is the legality of a work slowdown at the port - and which union has the right to jobs plugging and unplugging refrigeration systems at Terminal 6.

Judge Michael Simon first heard from the appointed mediator, former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who said that no agreement has been reached over refrigeration jobs. The dispute has stalled port traffic for weeks.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union had argued that any slowdown was protected under labor law, because it targeted their employer - the terminal operator called ICTSI Oregon.

But Judge Simon quoted a 35-year-old U.S. Supreme Court precedent when he ruled the longshore union's actions were illegal. That's because the jobs at issue were in the port's control, not the terminal operator's. Port officials called that a "step in the right direction."

Judge Simon kept the refrigeration jobs with the longshore union, for now.

And he set another court date for July 13th.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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