The Maritime Union in Western Australia wants to sue companies that do not hire enough local workers.
The union is negotiating new enterprise bargaining agreements with several companies and wants a clause which forces companies to provide jobs for Australian workers.
The MUA secretary Chris Cain has told the ABC there have been too many examples of companies using foreign workers instead of local ones.
"Where there is skills that we have in this country and they are skilled up ready to go and are trained up, they should be given the opportunity to do so," he said.
"We're talking about crane drivers, riggers dogmen, seafarers, wharfies.
"It does not take five years to train them and skill those personnel up." Mr Cain says if the companies adopt the EBAs, they could then be sued if they do not stick to the agreement.
"What's happening here is there is companies that are bringing in foreign labour and exploiting that labour and not paying them the actual rates of pay they say they will pay them on 457 visas," he said.
"They are not doing this." The state's Chamber of Commerce and Industry is alarmed by the move.
CCI chief executive James Pearson says he is cynical of the union's motives.
"I think it really is the case of a militant union seeking to put in place another trigger, another excuse, to start industrial action at a time when we need more productivity, not more disputes," he said.
Mr Pearson says the clause is absurd.
"For a union to come in and say it wants to insert into an enterprise bargaining agreement, insert this immigration issue, it really has nothing to do with the negotiations between the employer and the employees represented by the union," he said.
"So, I'm afraid I'm pretty cynical about the reasons for this."