Princess, Holland America settle Seattle dockside power issue with longshore union

Puget Sound Business Journal – by Steve Wilhelm

Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 2:54pm PDT

Cruise ship power cables at Port of SeattleDan Schlatter photo

These cables, carrying 11,000 volts, will power cruise ships while at dock.

Steve Wilhelm
Staff Writer

Holland America Line Inc. and Princess Cruises will be switching back to shore power June 25, after resolving a months-long struggle with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 19, over jurisdiction.

Currently, the two cruise lines are running their ships’ diesel generators while at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 91, while contractors upgrade the 11,000-volt shore power system to be handled by longshore workers.

The first ships capable of hooking to shore power arrived the first week of May, said Mike McLaughlin, director of cruise and maritime operations for the Port of Seattle. Connecting ships to shore power is called “cold ironing” in maritime lingo.

McLaughlin said port officials are relieved that the cruise lines and union have resolved the issue, because operating a low-emissions facility is an important priority for the Port of Seattle.

“To reduce emissions in this harbor, this is an important process we want to see continued,” he said, adding that cold ironing is “consistent with the vision laid out several years ago by the CEO, to be the cleanest and greenest and most energy-efficient port.”

The essence of the issue was longshore union resistance to having non-longshore workers on the docks, touched off last fall by the fact that the cruise lines had been bringing in electricians to make the connections when ships came in.

Keeping control of the ocean terminals has always been central to the longshore strategy of maintaining a strong union presence on the waterfront, and is an issue that has been fought out over decades. In the 1930s,
longshoremen physically battled police
, and sometimes Teamsters, over control of the docks.

~ by fredfelleman on August 4, 2011.

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