September 13, 2013
Should Inslee negotiate inter-union dispute on waterfront?

The Seattle tunnel project remains stalled, with the International Longshore Workers Union picketing the project in a bid to get four of the project's jobs assigned to members of their union. The ILWU has suggested that problems with "Big Bertha," the tunnel boring machine, are to blame for the delays. A spokesman for the project's contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, told KOMO that they "cannot access Terminal 46 because the ILWU picket line is blocking Seattle Tunnel Partners access to Terminal 46."

Being part of the Hwy 99 viaduct replacement project, the tunnel construction is a state responsibility. With an inter-union dispute holding up the project, should labor-backed Gov. Jay Inslee intervene to negotiate a resolution?

Noted liberal and political activist Dick Falkenbury thinks so. Falkenbury, you may recall, spearheaded the Monorail ballot initiative in Seattle. He asked rather caustically in a post on yesterday, "Did I miss the funeral? When did Governor Jay Inslee die?"

If Jay was alive and functioning he would be down at the Big Bore on the Seattle waterfront. There is a huge argument over four or six jobs that is stopping all work. If he were alive, he would bring the Longshoremen and the construction unions into a room and hammer out a deal.

As much as Falkenbury thinks Inslee should help bring the dispute to an end, he goes on to say that it would be even better to cancel the tunnel project altogether...and the 520 replacement while we're at it.

Posted by Adam Faber at September 13, 2013 02:42 PM | Email This
1. "Did I miss the funeral? When did Governor Jay Inslee die?"

He was brain dead before he took office, that's why the Democrats elected him. Maybe he will pour a little secret sauce over the two unions and "Poof" the problem will disappear.

Posted by: Smokie on September 14, 2013 05:34 AM
2. According to the Herald, an arbitrator has already ruled - against the ILWU. If so, why isn't this already settled?

In the same article was the claim that the ILWU refused to unload the drilling machine unless they were awarded these four jobs. Sounds a little extortionate.

In Danny Westneat's article, he suggested that the unions split the jobs, with ILWU getting the barge work and the other union the bulldozer and conveyor belt.

Inslee should present this offer and if ILWU doesn't accept it, then Inslee should threaten to raise his rates for their support in the next election.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on September 14, 2013 08:21 AM
3. my bad - KOMO article, not the Herald.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on September 14, 2013 08:23 AM
4. Bring in John Kerry....he's a great negotiator.

Posted by: Dengle on September 15, 2013 12:50 AM
5. Dr. Steve, the WSDOT and SPT are also unionized so in essence it is all union.

BTW - I agree with FDR...public employees should not be unionized. It is an afront to democracy.

Posted by: Dengle on September 15, 2013 12:57 AM
6. Sounds like Doctor Steve supports unions being able to extort public projects. Tell us Steve, why did the Union refuse to unload the Tunnel Boring Machine if the "feel" they had an agreement with STP as a result of the "negotiations" they have "documentation" of having gone on since 2011? Just a multi-day coffee break?

Posted by: smokie on September 15, 2013 06:03 AM
7. The President has told big labor no dice on special consideration under the ACA. And here is a story of a healthcare company announcing layoffs due to the ACA. Also, we have seen a huge explosion in part time workers coming in at under 30 hours a week so that employers do not have to hassle with the burden of the ACA.

Union droids like to brag about how they brought us all the 40 hour workweek. Now they can claim they have brought us the 30 hour workweek too! And for many, the zero hour workweek. Nice going Lefties.

Posted by: Leftover on September 15, 2013 09:36 AM
8. Still waiting Dr. Steve. Why didn't the Longshoremen unload the Tunnel Boring Machine if they had negotiated the jobs in question, in advance, with STP as you have stated? Sounds like their are some liars in the mix alright, but they are probably with the Longshoremen...even the other Unions involved think so.

Posted by: Smokie on September 15, 2013 12:31 PM
9. I think we can all agree that it's ridiculous for a big project to be held up over a relatively small labor dispute. Someone screwed up with the agreements but the project leaders (both management and elected officials) need to solve the problem quickly with either money or action (e.g., go to court, apply political pressure). And the media should explain what's going on -- it's not clear to me in whose court the ball is.

Posted by: Bruce on September 15, 2013 02:02 PM
10. @9: Union droids like to brag about how they brought us all the 40 hour workweek. Now they can claim they have brought us the 30 hour workweek too! And for many, the zero hour workweek. Nice going Lefties.

Please. The idea that a switch to part-time labor is completely because of the ACA is so ludicrous, it isn't even funny. Companies big and small are keen on getting a flexible workforce to keep from paying any kind of benefits whatsoever, and reducing overall labor costs.

And heck, if you're going to start to blather about a healthcare company laying off workers because of the ACA, please let us know how Republican cuts to so-called "entitlement spending" would impact those same Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

Posted by: demo kid on September 15, 2013 04:27 PM
11. @9: Don't forget how union support for Obama helped bring the "My spouse and/or I just lost medical coverage at my work" benefit~! Seeing it in the news all the time, and just happened again this past week.

Posted by: Monterey on September 15, 2013 07:06 PM