SSA’s terminal in Oakland was shut down this past Monday due to a difference in contract interpretation. SSA and ILWU Local 10 have had a long standing agreement for the crane operators to show up 20 minutes before the start of the shift (for which they are paid one hour) to perform the necessary safety checks on equipment. This early start enables the cranes to be up and running when the rest of the longshoremen and the drivers show up and all can hit the ground running.
The ILWU argues this early start is not part of the current contract nor was it discussed with the union. Instead of arriving 20 minutes early on Monday, the crane operators arrived at the traditional start time. In response, SSA sent them home, which resulted in the ire of all the longshoremen who walked off in sympathy, thereby, shutting down the terminal for the day.
The net result is this issue will be the first dispute to be reviewed and decided upon by the three-person arbitration panel put in place during last year’s ILWU/PMA contract negotiation. A decision on the issue/ interpretation is due early next week.