Click Here for Free Freight Rate Pricing

ILWU Ratified Contract – However Will the Horrible Course of Change?!

After simply over a yr, the contract negotiation course of between the Worldwide Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Affiliation (PMA) has come to an finish.

The ILWU ratified the brand new contract between the PMA and themselves on Friday, Could twenty second.

The PMA simply ratified the contract days earlier than on Wednesday, Could twentieth.

ILWU slowdowns and mini-lockouts from employers in retaliation had issues so backed up on the ports throughout negotiations that imported vacation merchandise by no means hit retailer cabinets and U.S. agricultural exports rotted on the docks.

The ILWU press launch asserting the ILWU members’ vote to ratify the 5-year contract by 82% quoted the ILWU president saying one thing all of us already knew:

“The negotiations for this contract had been a number of the longest and most tough in our latest historical past,” mentioned ILWU Worldwide President Robert McEllrath.

However why?

Why had been these negotiations so lengthy and tough? Why did shippers and the U.S. financial system must undergo because the PMA and ILWU labored out a brand new contract?

The unhappy reality is that there is no such thing as a good reply to that query. It was lengthy and tough and fraught with union slowdowns and employer retaliations as a result of that’s the best way longshore contract negotiations on the West Coast are finished.


It’s as infuriating as whenever you had been a baby and requested your dad and mom why solely to get the reply, “As a result of we mentioned so.”

Think about this excerpt from a Invoice Mongelluzzo article within the Journal of Commerce (JOC) that claims the brand new contract is “no sport changer” proper within the title:

What’s so disconcerting in regards to the 2014-15 negotiations, in comparison with these of 2002 and 2008, is that these contracts introduced important change to West Coast ports. The 2002 contract opened the door for limitless use of computerization and data expertise at marine terminals. ILWU marine clerks fought these adjustments as a result of they knew that lack of jobs would outcome. Employers had been equally adamant that productiveness couldn’t advance with out using computer systems and a free movement of data.

The 2008 contract was doubtlessly essentially the most revolutionary of the final three contracts. It gave particular person terminals the unrestricted proper to introduce automation —computer-controlled ship-to-shore cranes, unmanned horizontal floor transportation and automatic stacking cranes within the yard — that might eradicate 40 to 50 p.c of the ILWU basic longshore jobs. The 2008 contract negotiations had been comparatively peaceable.

The contract that was ratified Friday is unremarkable in most each facet. Going into the negotiations, the primary level of controversy was speculated to revolve round who would decide up the tab for the estimated $150 million a yr in further medical prices related to the so-called Cadillac tax within the Reasonably priced Well being-Care Act. Looking back, the PMA had at all times paid 100% of the dockworkers’ healthcare prices, so why ought to the ObamaCare provision be any totally different? The PMA agreed to pay it.

Settlement on the Obamacare’s Cadillac tax between the PMA and ILWU was introduced all the best way again on August twenty sixth, leaving the trade feeling optimistic in regards to the development of the contract negotiations.

I even posted a UCM weblog titled “2 Causes the ILWU PMA Contract Negotiations Will Resolve Quickly” however it didn’t take lengthy for the negotiations to disintegrate like negotiations between the Detroit Lions and Ndamukong Suh.

There have been, in fact, sticking factors within the contract negotiations. Jurisdiction over restore and upkeep of chassis after which the ILWU eager to eliminate arbitrators who dominated towards them are the problems that received reported.

Are these points price pushing shippers away from West Coast ports? As a result of that’s what occurred.

Andrew Edwards, on the finish of his Press-Telegram article about ILWU’s ratification of the contract, quoted Mark Hirzel, president of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Affiliation:

Hirzel mentioned West Coast dockworkers do their jobs properly, however the prospect of future disruptions has motivated some shippers to divert their items to different locations.

“We’ve undoubtedly misplaced freight, and I do know clients which have proudly instructed me that they’ve 100% rerouted their containers from L.A. and Lengthy Seashore,” Hirzel mentioned. “What shippers have mentioned is, they’re keen to pay extra for better predictability.”

Apparently, each the PMA and ILWU acknowledge there’s a want for change within the horrible technique of longshore contract negotiations on the West Coast.

The JOC article quoted above additionally identified the PMA and ILWU addressing an issue with the present manner contract negotiations are taking place:

PMA President Jim McKenna instructed at an occasion in New York final week the present technique of negotiating contracts “is just not sustainable.”

In an handle to a Toy Trade Affiliation assembly in Lengthy Seashore on Thursday, Bobby Olvera, president of ILWU Native 13 in Southern California, mentioned he’s a agency believer in motion. When disputes come up on the waterfront, each events ought to handle them instantly somewhat than letting them fester till the following spherical of negotiations 5 years later.

However didn’t the PMA and ILWU see issues with the method again in 2002 when union slowdowns and employer lockouts resulted within the everlasting lack of transport enterprise to West Coast ports?

What’s to say we gained’t be going by means of this entire factor once more in 2019? The method wants to alter now. Not 4 years from now. When are we really going to see that change?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.