After months of relative peace on the Oakland waterfront, only 10% of the requested jobs were filled by the ILWU workforce on Friday, January 20th, which coincidentally was also inauguration day.
The shortage of labor resulted in SSA’s terminal shutting its doors for the day while Everport and TraPac limped along with inadequate labor.
It Was widely reported labor opted not to work on inauguration day in protest to the newly elected president. When labor leadership was questioned on the topic, they denied there was a concerted effort or organization protest. Instead, an aging, overworked and inadequate workforce was to blame. Hmm….
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.
The West Coast longshore contract expires June 30 of this year. While negotiations have yet to begin, the logistics community is on pins and needles. There is concern disruptions will occur as the two sides, ILWU and PMA, work out the contract.
Many issues will be discussed, but two of the hottest will be jurisdiction…especially over maintenance and chassis…and how the two sides will deal with the fact the ILWU’s “Cadillac” healthcare plan will now be taxed under the Affordable Care Act.