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Port terminal open again after Tuesday shutdown

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on May 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
May 1, 2013 12:35 pm

Trucks were rolling into the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal Wednesday after a nearly day-long shutdown Tuesday.

That terminal closure was prompted by picketing retired longshore union workers upset over problems with payment of their medical benefits.  Active longshore members refused to cross the retirees’ picket line, shutting down operations at the terminal on Port of Tacoma Road.

Those pickets were removed Tuesday afternoon after an arbitrator ruled that the pickets were not allowed under the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.  The PMA represents waterfront employers all along the West Coast including shipping lines, ports and terminal operators.

The retired longshore workers said some of them were receiving calls from collection agencies after the insurance provider hired by the PMA failed to process claims for medical care in a timely way.

The PMA said it had changed that medical claims processing company with agreement by the union in January.  That new company inherited some 100,000 claims from the previous provider.  The situation is complicated, the PMA said, because some physicians and medical providers continue to submit claims to the old provider.

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