U.S. union sues Port of Portland for $200,000 records search

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 07, 2013 3:19 PM

(Reuters) - The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) filed a lawsuit against the Port of Portland, claiming the port violated the Oregon Public Records Act by charging the union $200,000 for public records searches.

ILWU submitted public records requests in June, September and December 2012. It said it was charged "arbitrary and excessive" fees to find the records and told further fees would be assessed for lawyers to review and segregate the records before release, the union said in a statement on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, filed on July 25 in Multnomah County circuit court, was the latest action in a heated labor battle pitting the ILWU against ports and grain exporters in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

ILWU wants the port to waive or reduce the fees and release the requested information. It also wants the court to issue an order declaring the port in violation of the public records act.

The Port of Portland said it never denied access to records and that the high fees were due to the broad scope of the information requests which will take hundreds of hours to compile.

The port offered to set up a payment plan but has not received a response from the ILWU, the port said in an emailed statement.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Andrew Hay)