The Stand

ILWU: Shippers harm economy for leverage

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The following is from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union:


SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 12, 2015) — On Wednesday, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), a consortium of international corporations, informed the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) that ships will not be worked at West Coast Ports four of the next five days.

port-closed-by-PMAThis action marks the second time in less than a week that employers have idled vessels.

The same group of predominantly foreign-owned companies also cancelled a negotiating session scheduled Wednesday for 1 p.m. with the ILWU’s Negotiating Committee. The employers have not made themselves available to negotiate since Friday, Feb. 6.

“This is an effort by the employers to put economic pressure on our members and to gain leverage in contract talks,” said ILWU President Robert McEllrath. “The Union is standing by ready to negotiate, as we have been for the past several days.”

At the same time that PMA announced this action and cancelled Wednesday’s negotiations, PMA’s public relations firm issued a press release that grossly mischaracterizes the ILWU’s current bargaining position.

“It seems to us that the employers are trying to sabotage negotiations,” said McEllrath. “They are not just hurting workers, families and communities, what our employers are doing is bad for the industry and the U.S. economy.”

ILWU-logo-13Facts:

► The cessation of vessel operations was initiated by employers, and is NOT a strike by workers.

► Longshore workers earn excellent benefits and good hourly wages ranging from $26-$41 per hour. Most are unable to work a full 2,000 hours in a normal work year. The typical pay for an experienced longshore worker is $83,000. Longshore work is extremely hazardous, with fatality rates exceeding those of police and firefighters.


ALSO at The Stand:

With deal in sight, ILWU urges against closing West Coast ports (Feb. 5, 2015)

KIRO’s Dori Monson owes all longshore workers an apology (Jan. 27, 2015)

Shippers admit West Coast port congestion not workers’ fault (Jan. 13, 2015)

ILWU frustrated by shippers’ finger-pointing over port delays (Dec. 11, 2014)

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