LABOR TENSIONS RISE ON WEST COAST AS PMA CONSIDERS SHUTDOWN OF PORTS
The war of words between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union has brought both groups to a flashpoint that could result in a shutdown of West Coast ports.
“The PMA Board is meeting as I speak,” a spokesman for the PMA told Shippers' NewsWire on Friday afternoon. “A defensive shutdown may be the only way of getting the union to recognize that we have serious issues on the table.”
The PMA said that “trouble occurred Thursday night at all West Coast ports — some had only 50 percent productivity” because of alleged union slowdowns.
A spokesman for the ILWU told Shippers' NewsWire that “we are sticking by our negotiating committee’s report of yesterday.” The committee called for “all longshore workers to stop any unsafe practices” and to work “in strict accordance with all safety code regulations.”
The PMA saw that “as a not-so-subtle call for slowdowns,” a spokesman said.
Both groups continue to disagree over what happened after the conclusion of talks concerning technology. The PMA left the table thinking that an agreement had been reached. The ILWU said later that “no agreement was reached on Wednesday.”
“We are disappointed and surprised by the union’s apparent backing away from its agreement on a framework for technology implementation,” said Joe Miniace, president of the PMA, in a statement released Thursday.