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The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

ILWU news release: Port employers cancel talks and idle vessels

Union calls on employers to work vessels, deliver cargo & resume talks

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (FEBRUARY 11, 2011) — Today, 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.

This 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 today for 1pm with the ILWU’s Negotiating Committee. The employers have not made themselves available to negotiate since Friday of last week.

“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 today’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,” he said, “what our employers are doing is bad for the industry and the US economy.”

Facts:

  • 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 2000 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.

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