FINALLY…A JOINT CALL FOR MEDIATION

134After a long holiday break in negotiations, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) returned to the bargaining table yesterday afternoon.  The two sides were reportedly far from an agreement, and the ILWU finally agreed with the PMA to bring in a federal mediator. An official request was sent to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) who responded they would be sending “Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, a senior FMCS mediator with extensive collective bargaining experience in this industry.”  Click here to read the FMCS press release on the subject.

As is customary, the FMCS will continue the “gag order” already in place.

The request to bring in a federal mediator is a welcomed, yet long overdue, turn of events.  The recent exchange of press releases tells us negotiations were not going well and something had to be done.

The ILWU called for PMA member companies to sit at the negotiating table (press release here) as well as invited US Congresswoman (D) Janice Hahn to speak to members at their hiring hall (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO).

mediator video

The PMA, on the other hand, called on ILWU leadership to stop withholding skilled workers (press release here) and posted a fact sheet outlining the labor shortage in place by the ILWU since early November (fact sheet here).

The situation was taking a turn for the ugly.  The BNSF began holding westbound trains headed for marine facilities on the West Coast, and in response to the labor shortages and work slowdowns, the PMA announced terminals in Oakland and LA/LB would not be ordering labor for nighttime vessel operations. Since the land side of marine terminals are severely congested, they will meter vessel operations in order to attempt to get the current bottleneck of cargo under control.
We are hopeful the use of a federal mediator will bring calm to the volatile theater.  We are also hopeful Mr. Beckenbaugh will insist both side return to normal operations while contract terms are negotiated.

RENEW YOUR WIL MEMBERSHIP TODAY

218_Logo_wil_women_in_logistics_norcal_smallJoin Women in Logistics (WIL) and receive all the benefits of membership…mentor program, job bank, resume vault, networking opportunities, educational events and discounted tickets.

Your membership matters.  All the proceeds from our events fund a scholarship program to encourage new people with new ideas to join the logistics industry.  Since 2004, we have awarded more than $50,000 to 29 students in the Bay Area.

Register on-line here.

Or download the application here.

FROM NORTHERN NEVADA

137Nevada’s official slogan is “Battle Born.” This nickname is even on the helmets of the University of Nevada’s football team.

 What major battle was referenced when this slogan was coined?

 Give up?  Nevada was admitted to the union in 1864 during the Civil War.

LABOR LAW IN A SNAPSHOT

135There is a growing call to action to move the governing law of the ports’ labor contract away from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and to the 1934 Railroad Labor Act (RLA).  The RLA oversees the labor contracts for both the railroads and airlines with the purpose of avoiding disruptions to commerce and transportation.

Unlike the NLRA, contracts under the jurisdiction of the RLA do not expire but rather remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.  Additionally, neither side can engage in slowdowns, lockouts or strikes. Furthermore, the RLA created the National Mediation Board (NMB) to facilitate the negotiation and reconciliation process. Finally, if the two sides do not reach an agreement with the help of mediation, they must commit to a 30-day cooling off period.

Why should ocean-going commerce be treated any differently than airborne or rail commerce?  Frankly, it should not be, but it will take an actual “Act of Congress” to change the current law and end the cycle of cargo disruptions during contract negotiations.  If you want a long-term solution, call your US Representative and US Senators.

NAME THAT PART

140Do you know what this part is?  It is something used in intermodal or truck transportation.  Play “Name That Part” by liking us on Facebook.  Clickhere to be directed to our Facebook page and place your guess.  Good luck!

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FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT

11Truck Emissions Down 76% in Oakland

The Port of Oakland is well on its way to accomplishing its goal of reducing emissions by 85% by 2020.  A recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows carbon emissions dropped by 76% between 2009 and 2013.  Additionally, Nitrous Oxide emissions declined 53% during this same time period.

The trucking industry is proud of this accomplishment and is pleased to move to the port’s goal forward.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

141In an attempt to visit his pregnant wife in South Korea, Andreas Günther, a German national with an expired passport, snuck aboard Cosco Oceania while at dock at SSA’s terminal in Oakland. He purchased an inflatable boat from a sporting goods store, rowed across the estuary, climbed a rope and boarded the ship. He was discovered by the crew after the ship was underway. The ship was stopped in the Bay, and Mr. Günther was surrender to the US Coast Guard.

FUN FACT

138The city of Oakdale, California hosts an annual Chocolate Festival. For years, the town was home to a Hershey plant. Even though the plant is no longer there, the festival lives on.

Ushering in 2014

Up Close Truck 012We are excited to usher in a new year.  It may sound crazy, but we’re looking forward to another year of changes and challenges as those are things that make logistics fun.

One notable change for 2014:  A significant California Air Resources Board (CARB) drayage truck retirement deadline went into effective January 1, 2014.  In order to serve any of the ocean and rail terminals in the state, one must be driving a model-year engine 2007 or newer truck. 

One notable challenge for 2014:  The contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the employer group, Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), expires on June 30, 2014.  It is expected jurisdiction will be a key factor in the discussions.  The ILWU sees every job performed at the marine terminals as a job belonging to the ILWU.  We have seen several battles over the jurisdiction of jobs on both coasts over the past year which have resulted in work stoppages and legal action. 

Hours of Operation Are Not Operating Hours

At Terminals 015We have been saying for months, even years, the key to making CARB compliant trucks affordable to drivers is increased pay AND increased turns/productivity at the marine terminals.  Unfortunately, most terminal operators in Oakland just put the kibosh on productivity by shutting down transactions at 2:30 in the afternoon.

TraPac has announced they may not, or maybe they will, release import loads after 2:30 in the afternoon.  Ports America is a moving target daily and generally disallows pick ups about the same time, 2:30pm.  SSA has posted a dual transaction cut-off of 2:45pm and a single transaction cut-off of 3:15pm.

Two terminals, Ben E Nutter and Howard (Evergreen and Matson respectively) remain open for all transactions until at least 4:15.

We understand the terminal operators’ constraints.  They are trying to manage costs and reduce overtime.  The increased volumes through their terminals result in high traffic and congestion.  In an effort to process the drivers by the ILWU quitting time, they cease transactions and thus the inflow of drivers and containers early in the day.

However, the rest of the logistics community has constraints as well.  Drivers are trying to make two loops between the Central Valley and Oakland.  Drivers leave the yard about 5:00am in order to be in Oakland before the terminals open.  They make their first terminal transaction and return the Central Valley between 10:00am-1:00pm, maybe later depending upon transaction times and traffic.  If a driver arrives in the Central Valley mid-day, his is unable to return to the Bay and be processed into the terminal gates by the 2:30pm cut-offs.

The two-loop model is critical for the industry and ourselves.  Our drivers rely on it to support their families and our customers rely on it to support their businesses.   Closing at 2:30 effectively makes two turns impossible.