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U.S. West Coast port unrest despite agreement

PRESS RELEASE

March 11, 2015: Despite the tentative agreement last month between the International Longshore & Workers Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) on a new, five-year coast-wide contract, ILWU Local 10 has repeatedly engaged in illegal work stoppages at the Port of Oakland, bringing operations to a standstill at Oakland International Container Terminal, the largest terminal in the Port.

Port of OaklandILWU Local 10 has repeatedly refused to allow yard crane operators to work as directed. These workers are essential to the movement of cargo in and out of the port. The terminal in question follows standard industry practice of hiring two workers for every yard crane – the same as at every other terminal at the port. Yet, ILWU Local 10 is refusing to allow yard cranes to operate unless that number is increased to three. This is a demand that Local 10 made and dropped during negotiations that led to the tentative agreement.

Similarly, Local 10 has also refused to allow longshore utility workers to lock and unlock connecting devices between chassis and containers. The use of steady utility workers to perform this work is a longstanding practice at every terminal in the port. Once again, Local 10 made a demand in bargaining to change this practice but dropped it in the tentative agreement.

These repeated work stoppages by Local 10 – which run counter to the tentative agreement reached after more than nine months of negotiations – are the sort of counterproductive activity that has become commonplace in Oakland over the years. Local 10's current actions are damaging to the PMA member companies, to the shippers whose containers are idled, and to the reputation and future of the Port of Oakland.

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