In an attempt
to break the stalemate surrounding the West Coast longshore contract
negotiations, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union
(ILWU) has presented a sweeping proposal on technology to the
employer group, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
would give the PMA the ability to institute computer technology
for the free flow of information in return for the PMA's recognition
of ILWU jurisdiction over the remaining jobs and economic enhancements
as modeled on the 1960 Mechanization and Modernization Agreement.
As it currently stands, when information from overseas reaches
a dock terminal, it is re-keyed or inputted into the system by
proposal will allow information from outside computer systems
to flow directly into terminal operating systems at West Coast
ports. This information will not have to be re-keyed by ILWU marine
for this innovation, the union wants to perform all remaining
jobs. These include any new jobs created by technology, terminal
control and pre-gate supervisor jobs, and the work of planning
ships, rails and container yards. Currently, the union performs
about 50 percent of planning on the West Coast, with the other
50 percent outsourced to non-bargaining unit workforces.
says the cost savings and increases in productivity benefiting
the employers far outweigh the union consolidation of the remaining
planning jobs on the West Coast.
union has stepped up and changed the jurisdiction section of our
contract dramatically," ILWU International President Jim
Spinosa said. "Now it's time for the PMA to meet us."
The PMA told
the Associated Press it was studying the proposal and would respond
Wednesday. However, the two groups met at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July
17, and reviewed their respective positions on arbitration and
technology. After a brief caucus at 7:15 p.m. the technology subcommittee
and the arbitration subcommittee split off and continued to meet.
With no public
response from PMA on the ILWU proposal, the two groups signed
yet another 24-hour extension in anticipation of further meetings
Thursday, July 18. The ILWU and PMA continue to meet on a daily
basis. The contract is being extended day by day. This week is
critical in trying to hammer out a contract because of a July
22 caucus date similar to the July 1 contract expiration date.