2 PM Pacific February 4, the Pacific Maritime
Association President Jim McKenna conducted a
press conference on the status of the negotiation.
A video of his press meeting can be viewed here.
said the region's docks are nearing "complete
gridlock" and raised the prospect of a lockout
in 5 to 10 days unless a contract deal is
reached. McKenna told reporters that the 50%
productivity decline, combined with stranding
several dozen ships that can't unload because of
port congestion, is forcing management's hand.
news conference was the first since talks began
nearly nine months ago with the International
Longshore & Warehouse Union. Almost
20,000 dock workers at 29 ports are affected.
said separately, "We are trying to give enough
notice and lead time for businesses to make the
best decisions they can."
PMA official also disclosed details of a new "best
offer" proposal made yesterday for a five-year
contract that includes 3% higher wages, 11% higher
pension benefits, and no givebacks. Average wages
now approach $150,000 annually with fully paid
health benefits costing employers $35,000 per
worker per year, and pensions average $80,000 a
year, he said. "This is a very comprehensive and
generous offer," he added. "This is a true
goodwill gesture to get the West Coast ports going
lot is at stake here," McKenna said, noting that
trade through West Coast ports accounts for 12% of
the U.S. gross domestic product. "It is important
for both parties involved and for the nation."
May, the parties have acknowledged agreement on
two issues - health care costs and chassis
handling practices. Health care costs matter
because union members could face higher taxes in
2018 under the Affordable Care act. McKenna said
six other issues, such as wages, remain
a press release on their website, the PMA said,
"PMA's offer also meets the ILWU's two biggest
demands: maintenance of their Cadillac health
benefits - which feature no worker premiums, no
co-pays and no deductibles for in-network benefits
- as well as jurisdiction over maintenance and
repair of truck chassis. Those two issues consumed
months of contract talks, and in both cases PMA
has offered significant concessions to the ILWU.
The resulting contract offer calls for a cost
increase of roughly five percent each year over
the life of the five-year contract.
chassis still appear to be an issue because
leasing companies and others have acquired chassis
that ocean carriers used to provide. That move
injected a new element into chassis supply, since
the owners of the equipment now aren't directly
involved in contract talks.
also said in their press release, "Despite four
weeks of participation by a federal mediator, the
parties have not yet been able to bridge the
considerable gaps between them. The Union has
recently made significant new demands, and is also
insisting on changes to the decades-long process
for selecting arbitrators - trying to change the
rules on the waterfront in their favor, giving
them the ability to unilaterally remove
arbitrators who rule against them."
said the Union's work slowdowns are having the
same result as a strike, except the workers are
still getting a paycheck. He also said, "These
slowdowns need to stop..." and employers "will
have to decide how much longer we are going to pay
longshore workers to work slowly." There are
rumors that at some point the employers may not
order union labor to work at the terminals (thus
shutting down) over weekends, but nothing is
will continue to monitor this situation closely
and will keep our customers updated.
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