Port Commission at an impasse about union contract until negotiations finish mediation


The Port of Olympia Commission decided not to have any further discussion on the comments made by International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members regarding the signing of the contract for a new union.

Commissioner Amy Evans Harding brought up the question of whether to discuss the issue further with the other commissioners during an agenda-setting meeting on Monday, April 3.

Union members had requested during last week’s meeting for the commission to step in and expedite the signing of the contract for a union representing marina, fuel dock, and boatyard employees after the Port requested the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to get involved as a mediator in February.

Harding, who chairs the commission, was absent during the prior meeting. The commissioners also do not normally respond to public comments, so replies to the public at that time were limited to comments by Executive Director Sam Gibboney and Commissioner Joe Downing.

Gibboney had asserted that the Port engaged in good faith with the bargaining team and that she looked forward to coming to an agreement. Downing had said that he trusted Gibboney to complete negotiations.

While the commission decided not to discuss the issue further, Downing expressed frustration about the negotiation progress, asking why the contract had not progressed despite Port staff having 14 meetings with the new union’s bargaining team.

“I’m frustrated, but I don't know who to be frustrated with,” Downing said. “I've been told that [the bargaining team] has met with the Port 14 times over the course of this past year. It seemed like 14 meetings would be enough to get a lot done.”

“It's so tough being a board commissioner because we don't get involved in operational issues, but we get sort of the feedback that these negotiations are not going well,” he added.

Downing also said that the commission would not get involved until the contract is presented to them for ratification.

Gibboney told the commissioners that Port staff requested mediation services from PERC as they reached a point where no progress was being made with negotiations. She added that the first mediation session is scheduled for the end of April.


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  • Honestyandrealityguy

    Just think of what the unions have done to our education system.

    Tuesday, April 4, 2023 Report this

  • northbeachcomm

    We have seen the citizens of this county file into the Port of Olympia meetings for months.

    During the Port meetings, they talk of their complaints regarding the Port as an employer. At that time, months ago,

    the Port Commissioners said that it would "take care of this situation".

    Then a top Port employee, Mr. A. Roe, sued the Port because of employment issues.

    The Port commissioners have not taken care of this. At this first meeting, eight

    months ago, many complaints were listed against Port Manager Ms. Sam Gibboney.

    These complaints were never addressed by the Port Commissioners, they

    continue to stonewall on this issue. Fire Gibboney! Fire her "for Cause". We need

    a manager who talks with people, who does not bully people, who is responsive

    to the citizens of this county! Thanks.

    Wednesday, April 5, 2023 Report this