PMA and ILWU set to discuss contract extensions in November

Following respective statements made in August proposing talks on contract extensions, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) said this week they are ready to get the ball rolling.

The organizations said in a joint statement that talks have been tentatively scheduled for November 1-2. The current contract between the parties runs through June 30, 2019.

In August, the PMA, whom represents shipping lines and terminal operators at 29 West Coast ports, said that earlier this year “in an effort to provide stability on the West Coast waterfront,” it proposed talks on a contract extension with the ILWU.

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Source: Logistics Management

U.S. wants to force lower highway speeds on truck and bus drivers

The U.S. is seeking to forcibly limit how fast trucks, buses and other large vehicles can travel on the nation’s highways.

A new proposal Friday would impose a nationwide limit by electronically capping speeds with a device on newly made U.S. vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. Regulators are considering a cap of 60, 65 or 68 mph, though that could change. Whatever the speed limit, drivers would be physically prevented from exceeding it. The proposal, which comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, does not force older heavy vehicles to add the speed-limiting technology, but the regulators are still considering it.

The government said capping speeds for new large vehicles will reduce the 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks that occur each year and save $1 billion in fuel costs.

While the news is being welcomed by some safety advocates and non-professional drivers, many truckers said that such changes could lead to dangerous scenarios where they are traveling at much lower speeds than everyone else.

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ILWU caucus to determine future of West Coast labor peace

A historic International Longshore and Warehouse Union caucus that could solidify the role of the West Coast as the preferred and natural gateway for U.S. trade with Asia will convene Wednesday in San Francisco.

About 100 ILWU delegates will decide in the coming three days if the union will join the Pacific Maritime Association in early negotiations for an extension of the existing contract that is set to expire on July 1, 2019.

Highlighting the importance of the caucus, 128 organizations representing beneficial cargo owners and logistics providers urged the ILWU and PMA to consider a new bargaining model based on “early and continuous dialogue.” The coalition of manufacturers, farmers, agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers said early contract negotiations would avoid the disastrous labor problems and port congestion that accompanied the 2014 and 2015 coastwide negotiations on the West Coast.

“You have both recognized the negative economic impact of disruptions and slowdowns that occurred during the last negotiations. We believe starting negotiations early will help avoid a repeat of that experience,” the BCOs and other transportation groups stated in the letter.

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ILWU office clerks sign contracts

In an abrupt change of events that could lead to labor peace among office clerical workers in Southern California for the next five years, the president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit said Thursday he signed individual contracts with three employers, and he has presented the same provisions to the 12 other employers in Los Angeles-Long Beach that have OCU contracts.

Earlier this week, Stephen Berry, the attorney who represents the bargaining organization for employers with OCU employees, said talks would not begin until next spring, with a deadline of June 30, 2016, when the present contract expires. Berry said he wanted to start negotiations as soon as possible, but he said John Fageaux, president of the OCU, preferred to wait until next April to begin negotiations.

However, in an interview Thursday, Fageaux said he wrapped up contracts with three employers, and he is optimistic deals can be reached with the remaining 12 employers on very similar contracts.  “We are certainly willing to sit down with the others as soon as possible,” he said.

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West Coast ports still beset by labor problems, unrest

No doubt port shippers and haulers were wishing for summer to be a strife-free season but so far, that hasn’t been the case, at least at beleaguered West Coast ports.

Just last week came work slowdowns at the Port of Oakland concerning what was reported to be “uncertainty surrounding the new labor agreement,” which insiders said meant the part of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s (ILWU) contract designating that it’s the union members’ job to maintain and repair chassis.

Trucking stakeholders, including the American Trucking Associations, have reached out to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, complaining that ILWU members “don’t have the legal right,” said Curtis Whalen, executive director of the ATA’s Intermodal Motor Carriers’ Conference.

Pacific Maritime Association Says Oakland Disruptions Violate Contract

The Pacific Maritime Association, management negotiators in this year’s West Coast labor negotiations, said operations still are being disrupted at the Port of Oakland, California, despite the ratification of a five-year contract 10 days ago.

The announcement from PMA said that officials at Local 34 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to dispatch workers for a May 31 shift, forcing a halt to operations, a move that represented the third disruption in Oakland operations since the May 22 ratification announcement.

The group that negotiates on behalf of ocean carriers and terminal operators said the union was violating contract terms as well as an arbitrator’s ruling that ordered the union to follow new dispatch procedures contained in the contract.

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Source: Transport Topics

New West Coast Labor Contract receives approval from ILWU

After nearly a year of negotiations, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has approved of a new labor contract with West Coast ports, with 82 percent of votes in favor of the ratification.

In applauding ILWU, Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioner’ President Doug Drummond issued the following statement:

“I would like to heartily congratulate the men and women of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on their approval today of the new West Coast labor contract for ports including Long Beach. I would also like to extend my congratulations to the companies of the Pacific Maritime Association for their approval of the contract.

“This new pact is terrific for management and labor, and proves that by working together, we can build a partnership that will continue to help to improve this economy and provide jobs all across the United States.”

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ILWU Rank-and-File Vote Begins After Leaders Back Contract

Leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have approved of tentative agreement with the Pacific Maritme Association (PMA). The agreement, which required about 10 months of negotiation and resulted in an intense slow down at West Coast ports, will now be voted on by the 20,000 individual members of the ILWU.

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Source: Transport Topics

West Coast longshore union delegates meet over contract proposal

On Monday, delegates from the ILWU met to determine whether or not to move forward with the tentative agreement that was reached between them and the PMA. It took nine months of negotiating between the two groups to produce the tentative agreement, and it may have taken even longer the process not been intervened by the government. If the ILWU agrees to recommend the proposal, it will be mailed to each member of the union then would later be voted on after a series of local chapter meetings.

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Source: Long Beach Press Telegram

Militant union faction opposes West Coast port pact

A militant union faction with roots in ILWU Local 10, the chapter that represents labor in the port of Oakland, will meet next week to discuss their concern with the tentative contract agreement for West Coast Ports that was reached between the ILWU and the PMA. According to an announcement on the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee’s website, the tentative contract agreement “gives employers a free hand to automate without counter demands of shorter shifts tied to wage increases.… Left unchecked, it will gut ILWU’s coastwide power and bury the last militant union in the U.S.”

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