By all experiences, the Worldwide Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Affiliation (PMA) are nonetheless distant from reaching phrases on a brand new grasp contract. And now negotiations are suspended.
Contract negotiations between West Coast dockworkers and marine terminal employers — ongoing for greater than 5 months — have been placed on maintain pending decision of a listening to to find out jurisdiction of cold-ironing work at an SSA-run terminal on the Port of Seattle, sources inform JOC.com.
A pair months in the past, contract negotiations stalled over this concern of union jurisdiction. The issue solely seems to be getting worse.
The massive concern most individuals had been anticipating to trigger competition within the ILWU contract negotiations was automation. Nonetheless, the union and employers received’t even get to that, nor the massive (40%) wage will increase the union reportedly initially demanded for dockworkers, till the events get previous this jurisdiction concern. Nonetheless, this concern is definitely associated automation in a method.
The ILWU says they gave the PMA language for automation within the 2008 grasp contract underneath the understanding the PMA would again the union over others in jurisdictional disputes. In the event that they weren’t already, the ILWU grew to become very aggressive in going after jobs managed by different unions after the 2008 settlement.
Within the lead-up to and in the course of the 2014-15 contract negotiations, the native chapter of the ILWU on the Port of Portland hard-timed the port a lot over two jobs at all times held by the Brotherhood of Electrical Staff that carriers stopped calling on the port with container ships.
One other union, the Worldwide Affiliation of Machinists and Aerospace Staff (IAMAW) has jurisdiction on tools upkeep and restore jobs at a terminal, T5, on the Port of Seattle. The ILWU desires the PMA to again it within the union’s jurisdiction struggle to get these jobs. Nonetheless, the PMA says it may’t do something there as a result of a court docket ruling has already been made in IAMAW’s favor.
Now, there’s a listening to on union jurisdiction over these cold-ironing jobs on the Port of Seattle that might end up the identical method the T5 jurisdiction ruling turned out.
All of it provides as much as the ILWU claiming the PMA hasn’t sufficiently backed the union on jurisdiction to have the proper to automate. Not solely are we speaking about additional automation but additionally what automation has already been accomplished lately.
There’s a giant disconnect right here. The ports want automation to maintain up with the quantity of cargo that pours by means of the ports. The ILWU views automation as an existential menace the place machines take jobs from individuals. The PMA has produced proof that automation, because it will increase effectivity and brings attracts extra enterprise to terminals, creates extra union work and jobs. The union rejects that proof.
I wouldn’t wish to should arbitrate fights over the difficulty on the negotiation desk.
Regardless of being 5+ months into contract negotiations already, there appears to be nobody who expects settlement to be reached this yr. Tirschwell writes in his JOC article:
The lack to get previous the jurisdictional concern in Seattle has now led some observers to conclude that the contract negotiations between the Worldwide Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Affiliation (PMA) are unlikely to be resolved this yr. Talks started Could 10 in San Francisco.
“I don’t see it getting resolved within the subsequent couple of weeks,” Gene Seroka, government director of the Port of Los Angeles, advised JOC.com this week. “We’re most likely months away.”
Being months away from decision could be very dangerous information for shippers, because the ILWU as already executed slowdowns throughout these negotiations. Listed below are a pair posts we revealed on the labor motion that has occurred:
One piece of excellent information, which Tirschwell factors out, at present holding labor competition from boiling over is the quantity of labor longshoremen are getting:
… the union’s negotiators should not underneath any strain from the rank and file to hurry right into a contract. That’s as a result of West Coast longshore employees have labored extra hours yr up to now this yr than throughout the identical interval final yr.
Based on numbers supplied by the PMA, the ILWU working hours paid by means of the primary week of October totaled 29.3 million, up 4 % from the 28.2 million working hours paid throughout the identical interval final yr. Working hours are up though US imports from Asia to the West Coast had been down 1.7 % in January by means of September in contrast with the primary 9 months final yr, in response to PIERS, a JOC.com sister product inside S&P World.
Amidst an uneasy economic system, delivery demand is quickly falling proper now. Let’s hope that doesn’t trigger labor hours to start out falling, turning the scenario ugly at West Coast ports.