PMA FORWARDS PORT PRODUCTIVITY REPORTS TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
The Pacific Maritime Association said Wednesday it has sent productivity reports compiled for major West Coast ports to the U.S. Department of Justice as proof that the International Longshore & Warehouse Union “has engaged in a concerted, systematic work slowdown,” said PMA spokesman Steve Sugerman.
According to reports prepared by “the PMA and its member companies,” container move productivity during the first week of the ILWU being back to work under the Taft-Hartley injunction fell 34 percent in Oakland, 20 percent in Portland, 27 percent in Seattle, 19 percent in Tacoma, and 9 percent in Los Angeles/Long Beach. “The figures are based on gross container moves per hour,” Sugerman said.
As for ILWU claims that the dropping in productivity was due to congestion and the need for more labor, the PMA said that “those claims do not account for the sudden and major drop in work levels at four major ports, and are discredited by the fact that productivity levels at certain terminals have ranged from 90 percent to 100 percent of normal.”
“On numerous occasions, the union has only partially filled ‘gangs’ of workers,” Sugerman said. A gang would be “short one or two skilled positions, typically a hook checker or a clerk supervisor,” with the result of “the entire gang being returned to the dispatch hall and performing no work,” he added.
The PMA said the vessel backlog for West Coast ports totaled 194 ships, compared with 224 vessels 12 days earlier. From Oct. 9 to Oct. 21, the number of dry cargo vessels at Los Angeles/Long Beach declined by only one ship, 101 to 100.
No ILWU spokesman was available Wednesday to comment on the PMA’s productivity reports. In the past, the union has discounted surveys made by the PMA as being self-serving.