ILWU longshoremen ordered back to work
Stevedoring operations at a couple of Los Angeles and Long Beach shipping terminals were disrupted after midnight Thursday when longshoremen from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to cross a picket lines thrown up by ILWU Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU) workers.
The OCU's 600 members provide customer service and other support for cargo movement operations of companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Stephen Berry, lead negotiator for the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Employers Association, which is in the midst of negotiations with the OCU, said an emergency arbitrator ordered dockworkers back to work, ruling the OCU had engaged in bad faith negotiations.
Berry said longshoremen were told to go back to work at Yusen Terminals and Marine Terminals Corp. by 8 a.m. Thursday.
The clerical workers went on strike shortly after midnight, after authorizing a job action on Monday. A video of John Fageaux Jr., president of the OCU Local 63, obtaining the strike authorization is viewable here.
On Monday, Fageaux issued a statement saying, “the main issue facing our members is job security ' The company has attacked our efforts to maintain job security and stop the use of technology to outsource our work to foreign lands.”
But the employers association said Wednesday that “despite union claims, the harbor employers have not transferred union-represented employee work overseas and have not proposed to do so.”
Berry said the OCU presented demands for a 21 percent pay increase and 32 percent wage and benefit increase less than four hours before their contract expired at midnight.
He said he made a counter offer to increase salaries by an additional $1 per hour over the life of a six-year contract, job security language, and language offering job protection for employees. He added the latest offer comes on top of a 10-month deferred $1 per hour wage increase that went into effect May 1. Berry said OCU members earn average annual wages of $96,900.
Berry is negotiating on behalf of 14 employers who have individual contracts with OCU Local 63.
He said he is continuing to offer to meet with the local, but has not yet heard a response.
The employers said earlier this week they were offering union members:
' Job security by retaining all existing current employees “despite inconsistent availability of sufficient work and a fragile recovery.”
' A 10 percent increase in pension benefit from $150 per month for each year of service to $165 per month for each year of service by the end of the contract.
' Maintenance of all in-network PPO health plan benefits. ' Chris Dupin