Port employers say local union is slowing operations at Los Angeles, Long Beach terminals

Date: Monday, April 17, 2023
Source: Supply Chain Dive

Another dispute is brewing between the Pacific Maritime Association and a local chapter of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, though this time no severe disruptions have been reported.

The group of port employers said in a Thursday statement ILWU Local 13, which represents dockworkers in Los Angeles and Long Beach, is slowing operations at terminals by unilaterally taking control of the dispatch process, which is typically administered jointly by the two parties.

“These actions have slowed the start of operations throughout the Southern California port complex,” the PMA said.

So far, no severe disruption is visible at the two ports. Access to truck gates were mostly open on Thursday and Friday, according to data from the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. And union documents show workers were dispatched on both days.

The ILWU and its local chapter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The PMA’s allegations mark the third time in the past month an issue between the port employers’ group and ILWU Local 13 has threatened port operations. In March, a dispute over lunch breaks slowed access to truck gates, and terminals closed last week after not enough workers showed up ahead of Easter Sunday.

The PMA has called the recent events “illegal work actions,” saying the union is using new tactics to disrupt terminal operations. In previous statements, union representatives have maintained their actions are in line with existing contract terms, which include taking lunch breaks and religious holidays.

Disputes between ​​​​​port employers and local union chapters are happening in the shadow of broader talks to renegotiate a master contract for West Coast workers, which have been ongoing since last May.


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