Operators at Ports of L.A., Long Beach ordered to stop unloading
ships at night
Posted: January 16, 2015
A labor dispute between
terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their
workers took another turn today, with operators being ordered to completely
stop loading and unloading ships at night, starting Tuesday night.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping
companies operating West Coast port terminals, said their members will not be
assigning any vessel gangs to move cargo off of and onto ships at night, in
order to focus on reducing an ever expanding pile of cargo containers they
contend is the result of an intentional work slowdown tactic by the dock
Crane operators that would normally work with the vessel gangs will
instead by moving containers out of the shipping yards and onto trucks that
will take the goods to their destination, PMA officials said.
“It’s designed to get containers that have been stranded moving,”
PMA spokesman Steve Getzug said.
Daytime vessel gangs, and some night workers on the yard and at the
gates, would not be affected by PMA’s order, he said.
PMA has been locked in contentious negotiations with the
International Brotherhood of Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 13, the
representatives of which have denied initiating a work slowdown tactic.
The union is only allowing trained and certified crane operators to
work at the terminals, according to Adan Ortega, a spokesman for the ILWU.
Ortega said terminal operators are not offering enough training for
workers and have become “over-reliant on untrained and uncertified crane
Getzug dismissed the claim
that only certified crane operators should be working on the yards, and
contends the dock workers union covering for their oft-used negotiating
tactic of slowing down work at the ports.
Getzug said they have been
responding to the so-called work slowdown by reducing work crews, as there is
no point in filling up shipping yards that are not being emptied.
On New Year’s Eve, PMA ordered that the three vessel gangs being
assigned to each ship be reduced to just one gang, and today all vessel gangs
ILWU representatives said ships are normally assigned six to eight
Ortega said the PMA’s decision to relieve even more workers tonight
“defies logic” and will only lead to the “mountain of containers growing
higher and higher.”
Ortega of ILWU said they are telling the dock workers who typically
work at night that they can try to show up in the morning to see if they can
get work during the day shifts, but it would mean “everyone shares the pain.”
Our regulatory experts are monitoring
the situation and keeping a close eye on labor negotiations, which began on
May 12, 2014. In the meantime we are checking shipment status on a
daily/hourly basis to see where our client’s cargo stands in movement towards
its final destination. While we can’t control the situation we can keep you
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