Port of Seattle to Enter Labor Agreement for Terminal Projects

The Port of Seattle Commission has agreed to enter Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for two new construction projects in the Seattle harbor, including conversion of Terminal 30 into a container terminal, and expansion of Terminal 91 as a base for cruise ship operations.

The PLA is designed to assure that work can proceed on the two related construction projects without interruption.

“Both of these projects are to be built within very strict time constraints,” said John Creighton, commission president. “There are limitations on when work can be done in the water, for example, and the projects are phased so that both can be ready early in 2009. It is essential that they go forward without interruption.”

Terminal 30 has been used for cruise operations but will be converted to its original use as a container terminal. When combined with Terminal 25, it will provide 70 acres for container use. The terminal has been leased by SSA, which already operates Terminal 18 in Seattle.

Terminal 91 is now used by the Bering Sea factory trawler fleet when it is in port over the winter. Moving cruise ships there for the summer months – the season in April through October – will provide year-round use of that facility. It will have two cruise berths with shore power available for cruise ships when in port.

The PLA with the Seattle-King County Building Trades Council is a site-specific agreement that supersedes any conflicting collective-bargaining agreements. It addresses working conditions and work rules and provides uniform grievance and dispute-resolution procures. It includes a no-strike agreement by all signatory unions for the duration of the construction projects.

Creighton noted that the PLA includes a provision to allow a portion of the construction work to go to small businesses, as part of the Port’s effort to ensure that firms at all levels are able to take advantage of the jobs and economic benefits brought to the region through Port activity.

“We don’t intend to use this technique on every project,” said CEO Tay Yoshitani, “but this one lends itself very well due to the narrow time constraints.” Other port projects that were built under the auspices of a PLA include the Bell Street Pier, Terminal 18 expansion and the first phase of the capital improvement program at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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