IS BEING FIRST ALWAYS BEST?

West Coast Dockworkers Hold Day-Long Work Stoppage To Protest Iraq WarSSA’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.

TERMINAL CHANGES AFOOT

Ben E Nutter (aka 7th Street, Marine Terminals, MTC, Seaside, STS, BENT, Evergreen) will close temporarily while it transitions from one stevedoring company, Seaside Transportation Services (STS), to another, Everport Terminal Service (ETS).

The closure will begin on Saturday, December 5th and is expected to last 2-4 weeks.  During this time, Evergreen’s vessels will call SSA.

The purpose of the closure is to upgrade computer systems and equipment.  One such upgrade will be Optical Character Recognition (OCR) cameras and portals.  This technology reads the container and chassis numbers and transmits the data to the gate clerks, thereby, increasing gate fluidity.

While there is never a good time for a terminal closure, we are concerned about the short holiday weeks ahead, the likelihood of regular longshore labor taking extended time off, the possible lack of enough skilled labor to work the yard, and the additional volumes and pressure on SSA.

The best plan of action is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.SONY DSC