ILWU Slowdowns Port of Tacoma resized 600

ILWU Contract Negotiations Flip Ugly: Is ILWU Staging Slowdowns?


“The Worldwide Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has initiated orchestrated slowdowns on the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma, severely impacting lots of the largest terminals throughout the peak vacation delivery season,” the Pacific Maritime Affiliation (PMA) opened a information launch with on Monday (November third).

The ILWU responded with its personal press article headlining, “Dishonest media offensive by PMA jeopardizes contract negotiations and deflects from a rising congestion downside.”

Regardless of the ILWU coast-wide contract expiring again on July 1st and 6 months of negotiations with no new contract, talks gave the impression to be going easily between the ILWU and PMA.

The final bit of reports on the ILWU negotiations got here in August when a joint launch from the PMA and ILWU proclaimed the events had reached a tentative settlement on well being advantages, which was presupposed to be one in all, if not THE largest obstacle-creating negotiation level to getting a brand new contract created.

It was such excellent news that each one the worldwide delivery information retailers had been optimistic concerning the ILWU contract negotiations and publishing tales about how nicely and peacefully the talks between the ILWU and PMA had been going. I even wrote a weblog titled: 2 Causes the ILWU PMA Contract Negotiations Will Resolve Quickly.

Then there was silence. Over two months of silence.

Throughout the silence on the ILWU negotiations, congestion on the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside took heart stage in worldwide delivery information. If extreme congestion and delays at Southern California ports was not unhealthy sufficient, now shippers have the unhealthy information of slowdowns at Pacific Northwest ports and ugly accusations going backwards and forwards between the PMA and ILWU.

The talks are not peaceable.

Is the ILWU orchestrating slowdowns because the PMA says or is the PMA deflecting port congestion accountability by smearing the union because the ILWU claims?

A basic case of he mentioned, she mentioned? Perhaps, however there’s good motive to consider the ILWU is orchestrating slowdowns.

Let’s take a fast take a look at the press releases from the PMA and ILWU.

The PMA states:

As soon as the contract expired on July 1st, the events agreed to proceed negotiating in good religion, and to resolve their variations on the desk. The PMA and ILWU particularly said that they had been aware of the broader financial implications of those negotiations. As such, they agreed that ordinary operations at West Coast ports would proceed till an settlement might be reached.

“Now, the ILWU has reneged on that settlement,” mentioned Wade Gates, a spokesperson for the PMA.

The ILWU responds:

PMA’s press assertion dishonestly accuses the ILWU of breaking a supposed settlement “that ordinary operations at West Coast ports would proceed till an settlement might be reached.” It is a bold-faced lie. No such settlement was ever made…

In a number of joint press releases from the ILWU and PMA, the assertion “each events have pledged to maintain cargo shifting” appeared. That definitely sounds just like the PMA and ILWU agreed to proceed operations on the ports as regular throughout the contract negotiations. I doubt any shippers learn that as, “We’ll hold cargo shifting, however a lot slower than regular.” Now the ILWU is all of the sudden saying, “We by no means agreed to that”?

The ILWU says:

…PMA additionally falsely states that settlement to momentary contract extensions is normal follow.

I seemed for such an announcement from the PMA and didn’t discover it. What I did discover was:

…the ILWU has refused to conform to a short lived contract extension – which it has agreed to throughout previous negotiations – as a result of such an extension would give each events entry to the well-established grievance process that has served the waterfront for many years. Collectively appointed arbitrators have frequently discovered slowdowns on the waterfront to be impermissible, however with no contract extension in place, employers can not entry the arbitration course of.

The false assertion right here once more seems to be on the ILWU facet because the PMA by no means seems to name momentary contract extensions frequent follow. Maybe you possibly can infer from saying the ILWU has agreed to momentary contract extensions throughout previous negotiations that these extensions are normal follow, however I’m unsure the assertion really implies that. Perhaps it’s the “well-established grievance process that has served the waterfront for many years” that the ILWU thinks serves as implication.

What I don’t assume is honest on the PMA facet is to state that the ILWU didn’t conform to an extension as a result of it will give each events entry to grievance process until the ILWU really said that’s the reason they didn’t conform to an extension. The PMA ought to have mentioned they consider the ILWU refused an extension to be able to keep away from grievance process. The PMA would have good motive for his or her suspicion of the ILWU’s motive.

The final time the ILWU did conform to an extension, it was to cowl a brief period of time in July of this yr whereas the PMA and ILWU had been taking a recess from talks. Throughout that point, ILWU members walked off the job on the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside to do what was presupposed to be the unlikely factor of exhibiting solidarity with a rival union, the Teamsters who had been main a truckers strike on the ports. A labor arbitrator ordered them again to work due to the extension.

In the meantime, judges and arbitrators have repeatedly dominated that the ILWU has been deliberately inflicting slowdowns on the Port of Portland. Not extending the contract has allowed the ILWU to take benefit with hard-timing ways at Terminal 6 on the Port of Portland.

There isn’t time to get into the historical past of ILWU slowdown ways on this weblog, however simply trying on the union’s actions on the Port of Portland is sufficient to know they’ve utilized such ways.

Then there’s ILWU’s pointing at chassis as the principle explanation for port congestion. The article the ILWU factors to as proof is about chassis being the principle explanation for congestion on the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside. Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside. The PMA is accusing the ILWU of orchestrating slowdowns at Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

However talking of the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside, there have been complaints of the ILWU’s productiveness there too. One instance I’ve personally seen is that this quote from an electronic mail despatched by a consultant of a trucking firm known as J&M that providers the Southern California ports, “Please complain at terminals they’re those that need to work quicker or do away with that union that’s solely affecting productiveness [sic].”

Whereas many have included the ILWU as a contributor to the congestion on the Ports of Los Angeles and Lengthy Seaside, I’ve prevented together with the union within the elements inflicting the LA/LB Port congestion. Maybe I used to be too fast to disregard such complaints of pissed off truckers together with the phrases of trade professionals.

The Ports of Seattle and Tacoma aren’t precisely coping with the identical congestion points as America’s largest ports by quantity down in Southern California. “’We’ve got the best share of under-utilized  terminals on the West Coast. We’re not happy with it,’ mentioned John Wolfe, government director of the Port of Tacoma,” quoted a JOC article.

It appears onerous to consider that large drops in productiveness and sudden delays are taking place there with out union members following slowdown orders because the PMA claims it heard ILWU enterprise brokers have despatched.

After a number of days of crippled productiveness, employers demanded that union leaders return to regular office practices. When the ILWU refused by persevering with its extreme slowdowns, employers had been compelled to start sending employees dwelling, paid for time labored, mid-shift on Sunday.

“In Tacoma, the ILWU shouldn’t be filling orders for expert employees, together with straddle provider operators who’re essential to terminal operations,” mentioned Gates. “That is like sending out a soccer staff with out the receivers or operating backs. You possibly can’t run the performs with out them,” he mentioned.

Properly, the Detroit Lions have been managing to win soccer video games with out star extensive receiver Calvin Johnson, all 3 tight ends that began the season on their roster, and star operating again Reggie Bush. After all, the Lions did their finest to get productive gamers to fill these receiver and operating again sneakers. The issue is, the ILWU has motivation to not play the most effective ball it may as slowdowns are a long-traditioned tactic in contract negotiations.

What we find yourself with is the PMA saying:

“This can be very troublesome to have significant negotiations beneath the present situations through which the ILWU is intentionally slowing productiveness to be able to stress our member firms.” [–Wade Gates]

And the ILWU saying:

As we speak’s unilateral media blitz by PMA will solely delay progress at a essential level within the contract negotiations.

As what gave the impression to be peaceable contract negotiations flip ugly, shippers and the economic system fall into nice danger of struggling.

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