• ITVI.USA
    13,706.040
    122.900
    0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.480
    0.380
    1.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,672.580
    119.480
    0.9%
  • TLT.USA
    2.630
    -0.020
    -0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,706.040
    122.900
    0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.480
    0.380
    1.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,672.580
    119.480
    0.9%
  • TLT.USA
    2.630
    -0.020
    -0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    0.060
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.190
    0.050
    2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.400
    0.180
    14.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.730
    0.160
    6.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.440
    0.040
    2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.870
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
American ShipperShippingWarehouse

PMA and ILWU may be asked to negotiate in Washington

West Coast port labor negotiations are now focused on arbitration system.

   Negotiators from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association will be asked to come to Washington next week if they cannot reach agreement on a new contract.
   Updating the Port of Los Angeles board of harbor commissioners on contract talks Thursday, Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director said “Tonight we have a federally mandated deadline on those negotiations directly from the White House. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez will report back to the President this evening on those labor discussions.
   “If no agreement is reached, both sides will be asked to go to Washington for meetings next Tuesday. We are at a critical juncture in these negotiations and the ongoing continuity of the supply chain and the direct impact here at the Port of Los Angeles and with respect to the nation’s economy,” said Seroka.
   The Associated Press said that Perez on Thursday gave the leaders of the ILWU and PMA a Friday deadline to reach a deal.
   The two sides are expected to meet again today in San Francisco.
   “If they don’t reach an agreement by Friday, they’ll have to leave California and negotiate in Washington,” the AP item said. The AP attributed its information to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who they said “applauded the move, which she learned about in an evening call with Perez.”
   Spokesmen at the Department of Labor and Federal Mediation and Conciliation could not immediately confirm the reports.
   Talks between the ILWU and PMA are now in their 10th month, and the PMA presented the union last week with what it said was its “last, best, and final offer,” which includes $1 per hour wage increase in each of the next five years.
   A major issue dividing the two sides is arbitration. Currently, the two sides have four full-time, permanent arbitrators that are on-call 24 hours a day so that disputes on the dock can be rapidly resolved.
   Their decisions go to a joint labor-management committee that has the power to overrule those decisions, and decisions can also be appealed to a coast arbitrator.
   The PMA said in a press release earlier this month that  “Currently, once an arbitrator has been hired, he can be removed only by mutual consent of the parties.”
   PMA said “The ILWU is seeking to change this provision so that either party could remove an arbitrator at the end of any contract. PMA strenuously objects to this attempt to damage the system that has protected the waterfront for decades.” 
   The PMA spokesman Wade Gates said, “The ILWU is essentially seeking the right to fire judges who rule against them,” and added the current “waterfront arbitration system is an essential check-and-balance against illegal labor actions. It would be reckless to allow a single party to change the rules as the Union desires.”
   The area arbitrators in Southern California and Puget Sound region were nominated by the ILWU.
   Under the contract, the union proposes three arbitrators and the PMA then chooses one to become the permanent area arbitrator. In the Seattle Tacoma area and Portland the PMA nominated arbitrators and the ILWU chose which of the three they wanted to serve.
   One source said that the ILWU has been unhappy with the rulings of the arbitrator in Southern California, David Miller.
   Miller told the Associated Press this week hat he was unsure why he has “become the focal point of the closed-door talks…. He figures that in the hundreds of decisions he has issued, he upset someone who is now getting back at him.”
   “I’m as bewildered as anybody else on the outside looking in,” Miller told the wire service.

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Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.
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