The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been focusing on organizing the superintendent role at marine terminals. This position has traditionally been a management function, but the union has been successful in bringing those responsibilities under their umbrella at two terminals in Southern California, APL’s Global Gateway South and Pasha Stevedoring. Additionally, the ILWU is in negotiations at two other terminals, ITS and Everport.
As contract negotiations bogged down for the work at APL’s terminal, the ILWU established picket lines and shut down operations. The terminal was closed from last Thursday until Saturday morning when an agreement was reached.
Please be prepared for vessel delays coast-wide as this terminal works through the backlogged created by the closure.
We have good news to report: It looks like the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) will approve a three-year contract extension, thereby, taking the contract out to July 1, 2022. While it is not official, the voting is strongly in favor of the extension (67% pro, 33% against). The union expects to formally ratify the contract extension soon.
There has been quite a bit of focus on both the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) contract expiration dates. The ILWU’s contract, which covers the entire US west coast, was originally set to expire on July 1, 2019. The ILA’s contract, which covers the US east and gulf coasts, is scheduled to expire September 30, 2018.
Given the back-to-back expiration dates and the fact negotiations go far beyond the last day of the contract, both labor contracts could have been in negotiations at the same time. Historically, labor negotiations have had a negative impact on the fluidity of container flows.
Disruptions on both coasts, at the same time, could have had catastrophic consequences for US exporters and importers. As such, it is no surprise serious angst was developing throughout all industry segments.
Thanks to both the ILWU and PMA for getting this extension done and continuing our relative peace on the west coast waterfront for another five years. Whew!
Forget what your calendar says. It is not Wednesday. Today is actually Bloody Thursday. It is the one day of the year the longshoremen will not work – in any capacity – on the waterfront. Bloody Thursday is always honored on July 5th and commemorates the violent end to an 83-day strike as well as the birth of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
Click here to learn more about why the ILWU recognize this day. Since nothing is moving on or off dock today, you will have a little time to read up on the history of the ILWU.
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), which controls dock labor on the west coast, agreed to send its rank and file members a formal proposal to extend the contract until July 1, 2022. The extension proposes pay and pension increases and maintains the union’s “Cadillac” healthcare plan. There is a push to extend the contract not only because the last negotiations were protracted and painful, but the current contract expires on July 1, 2019, which is right on the heels of the east coast’s ILA contract expiration of September 30, 2018.
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) will sit down today and tomorrow to discuss an early contract extension. The current contract expires June 30, 2019…a mere 2.5 years from now.
Given the turmoil we encountered during the last contact negotiation, all stakeholders as well as the US Congress are pushing for a speedy and amicable extension.
We remember all too well the pains of the west coast labor negotiations in 2014/2015. It took nearly a year to finalize the contract and the US Labor Secretary’s involvement to close the deal. The aftermath and clean up took months to clean up.
The current contact is set to expire on June 30, 2019. The PMA sent a letter to the ILWU requesting early negotiations, and the labor union sought approval from its rank-and-file. The matter was voted on by ILWU delegates last month, and the majority elected to enter into early contract negotiations.
It is a hopeful sign. The industry was set to have simultaneous negotiations with both the east/gulf coast contract and the west coast contract expiring in close proximity. A nationwide disruption would be devastating to the county Not to mention the industry cannot handle further disruption to cargo flows on the west coast alone.
After the protracted and disruptive labor negotiations on the west coast, is it wrong, as a west coast centric carrier, to get a small amount of satisfaction knowing we are not alone when International Longshore Association (ILA) members walked off the job in New York/New Jersey last Friday?
There was no official explanation given, but Jim McNamara ILA spokesman was heard on a New York radio station saying the walk off was a result of a dispute with the Waterfront Commission over hiring practices. The Waterfront Commission was founded more than sixty years ago to address corruption on the docks.
Okay, it probably is wrong. But still….
All summer we suffered through the consequences of labor shortages in Oakland. We do not need to recap those issues again, but we do want to highlight change is on the horizon.
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) agreed to promote 150 casuals to International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Class B status and hire an additional 400 casuals. Many of the Class B workers have already completed their tractor training and are on the job. The PMA is quickly working to on-board the casuals.
Additionally, 30 clerks are being added to the roster and are in the process of being trained.
This additional labor is great news for users of the port. It is also much needed as the port and terminal operators move forward with their plan for Saturday gates.
It has been a difficult summer. The on-going labor shortages in Oakland have negatively affected terminal operations and, therefore, driver productivity.
However, hope is on the horizon. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) has agreed to promote 100 casual to registered longshore status and hire an additional 400 casual laborers.
This news is welcomed by all using the Port of Oakland.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL) have sent letters to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) seeking their intervention to end mandatory chassis inspections at marine terminals.
As part of the last round of labor negotiations on both coasts, the management groups (PMA and USMX) granted the unions (ILWU and ILA) jursidiction over chassis inspection and maintenance. However, the ATA and IICL contend neither the union nor the management groups have the legal right to inspect or maintain this equipment. The ATA and IICL argue that since neither the union nor management groups owns chassis and since the actual equipment owners are not party to the contract, the chassis inspection program is illegal under federal law. Furthermore, they assert the inspections are redundant and are creating increased truck turn times and added congestion.
On the other side of the fence, the unions are digging in their heels. The ILA, who announced they will begin negotiating a new contract a full three years early, has said they have no intention of budging on this subject. The ILWU does not plan to give in either. In fact, they assert the ocean carriers divested themselves of chassis specifically to erode union jurisdiction.
MESSAGE TO THE RANK AND FILE FROM [ILWU] INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT ROBERT “BIG BOB” MCELLRATH:
” The Coast negotiating team continues to meet in an effort to reach a fair contract that provides security for its rank and file and stability for the industry despite the propaganda and threats from PMA. I urge the membership to stay strong and united and ignore PMA’s propaganda. Together we will prevail.”
Bobby Olvera, Jr. Mondo Porras Mark Williams
President Vice President Secretary/Treasurer
Posted on the ILWU Local 13 website
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) issued the above statement today regarding the status of their contract negotiations with International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU).
As we know and have been suffering through, the contract expired July 1, 2014. Negotiations began in May 2014 but have not been going well. The two sides agreed to federal mediation on January 5, 2015. The high hopes for the mediator being able to bring both sides to an expeditious agreement were soon dash when the both the PMA and ILWU began to issue competing press releases.
Meanwhile, terminal operations continue to suffer, vessels are delayed and skipping ports of call and cargo owners are actively pursuing alternative gateways.
To watch the video click here.