PMA COUNTERS UNION ALLEGATIONS OF LOCKOUT PLAN
The Pacific Maritime Association, the body that represents U.S. West Coast port employers in the current labor contract negotiation with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, has countered allegations made last week by the London-based International Transport Workers’ Federation.
“An International Transport Workers’ Federation press release has incorrectly stated that the PMA plans to lock out the ILWU and reroute ships,” the employers’ association said in a statement. “The PMA is on record that it will not initiate a lockout as a negotiations tactic.”
However, the PMA said in the event of an ILWU work action, it would be “forced to consider appropriate defensive actions.” The qualification in the PMA statement appears to imply that port employers may still lock out dockworkers as a response to initial strikes or slow down actions by workers.
In previous conflicts, the ILWU engaged in slowdown actions that hurt the productivity and profits of employers, without making a commensurate impact on the salaries of dockworkers.
The ILWU and the International Longshoremen’s Association, which represents East Coast dockworkers, belong to the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
Both the ILA and the International Transport Workers’ Federation have publicly expressed their backing for the ILWU on the U.S. West Coast.
The ILWU and PMA are negotiating to renew their three-year labor contract, due to expire July 1. Industry observers do not expect both sides to overcome their differences and reach an agreement by that date, which would likely trigger West Coast port disruptions after July 1.