Port of Seattle Labor Relations Director Retires, Interim Named

Image via Port of Seattle.

David Freiboth is retiring from his role as senior director of labor relations for the Port of Seattle, with Senior Labor Relations Manager Mikel O’Brien serving as interim, the port announced.

Freiboth, whose retirement went into effect at the end of January, has been a major part of the Puget Sound labor community, having served more than three decades as an advocate for workers — from executive secretary of the King County Labor Council to president of the Inlandboatman’s Union of the Pacific — before coming to the port.

In his role at the Port of Seattle, he oversaw 23 bargaining units encompassing over 1,000 port employees and offered advice to Port Executive Director Steve Metruck and port commissioners.

“I want to thank David for his years of dedicated service to the port, his wise — and often frank — counsel, and commitment to working men and women throughout and outside our organization,” said Executive Director Steve Metruck. “His immense talents on behalf of the Port of Seattle will be missed.”

Taking on the interim role via appointment by Metruck is veteran attorney O’Brien, who has more than 25 years of experience in labor relations. The Seattle University School of Law graduate began her labor relations career as a law clerk for a firm representing police and fire guilds. Before joining the port in 2000, she worked in labor relations for King County and Seattle Public Schools, according to the port.

“Mikel O’Brien brings years of labor experience to bear on a critical position requiring integrity and fairness on all sides,” Metruck said. “She has my full support, confidence, and trust moving forward in this interim role.”

The port has said that it’s developing plans for a permanent replacement.

By Karen Robes Meeks