The region’s largest container terminal is back online after a labor arbitrator ruled Thursday evening that terminal operator SSA Marine must find a way to more thoroughly disinfect equipment between shifts, resolving a dispute over equipment sanitation that halted cargo operations earlier in the day.
Arbitrator Jefferson Thomas found that the employer had failed to comply with previous arbitration agreements and CDC guidelines.
“This constituted a bona fide health and safety issue and all standby time shall be paid,” Thomas ruled, noting that SSA had also violated the coastal safety code by failing to provide a safe working place and proper gear.
Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw said resolving the dispute “means cargo will continue to provide emergency supplies, daily necessities and boost our larger economic recovery during this difficult time.”
Tensions flared earlier this week after one SSA Marine supervisor and one longshore worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The longshore workers union charged that machinists hired by terminal operator SSA to sanitize shared equipment were too overworked to adequately clean the machines.
Elsewhere down the coast, longshore workers have raised similar concerns with regard to terminal cleanliness, including at the Port of Oakland.