lockout at west coast ports as PMA refuses to pay overtime to dockworkers
Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced yesterday that it will again
suspend weekend vessel operations at 29 terminals across US west coast ports
and halt ship work today (Lincoln’s birthday) and on Monday (Washington’s
statement, the PMA employer group said it would refuse to pay the 50% premium
for overtime work at the weekend and public holidays while productivity
remained “severely diminished”. It accused the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union (ILWU) of continued slowdowns that amounted to “a strike with
angry riposte, the ILWU denounced the PMA’s decision not to work ships in
four of the next five days, thereby idling more ships, and accused what it
described as a “consortium of international corporations” of putting
“economic pressures on our members to gain leverage in contract talks”.
coast shippers and retailers are at their wits end as the war of words
between the PMA and the ILWU deteriorates into a messy public spat, while
cargo is stuck on ships or on the quayside and their businesses look into the
abyss of bankruptcy.
shipper that uses several ports on the west coast told The Loadstar
that in some ways a strike would be better, and bemoaned: “At least we would
know where we stood.”
the worsening of the relationship between the negotiators seems to drive a
wider wedge in the labor contract impasse, with the PMA accusing the ILWU of
making demands “they knew we could not meet”, albeit the union continues to
regard a deal as “close”.
the event of a strike by Dockers or a lockout by the employers could
President Obama invoke the Taft-Hartley Act, which would, effectively, force
a reopening of the ports.
Taft-Hartley was not used by Obama’s predecessor George W Bush until the 2002
lockout was 10 days old, by which time over 200 ships were anchored in the
San Pedro Bay area.
on the west coast at Portland, Oregon, South Korean container line Hanjin Shipping announced on Tuesday that it was
terminating its transpacific service to the port at the end of the month.
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 informed.
contained in this newsletter has been compiled from various industry
newsletters and other public sources. While we use reasonable efforts to
furnish accurate and up-to-date information Page & Jones, Inc. is not
liable or responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information