After a weekend
of what they called "fruitless bargaining," the International
Longshore and Warehouse Union negotiating committee began its
caucus July 22 by presenting the Pacific Maritime Association's
The PMA shot
down the plan proposed by the ILWU last Tuesday. The ILWU's technological
proposal asked for jurisdiction over all remaining work and planning
positions currently outsourced to other workforces.
July 17 response to the union's proposal, PMA President Joe Miniace
said, "We are pleased that the union has finally recognized
the need to modernize the West Coast ports and introduce technology
to the terminals. "The union's proposal does not adequately
address the technology and efficiency needs of the West Coast
waterfront," he added. "This proposal may have taken
the ball a few yards down the field, but there's a long way to
go with time running out on the clock."
responded by expressing its obvious disappointment in the PMA's
reaction to the union proposal. "PMA's response to the union's
proposals was disappointing," the ILWU said.
The PMA describes
its new plan as "a comprehensive coast-wide labor proposal
that will enable the introduction of critical technology to modernize
West Coast ports, while guaranteeing that the ILWU-represented
longshoremen will continue as among the highest paid workers in
to the PMA, full-time longshore workers currently earn an average
of $106,883 per year, receive a benefit package with an average
of 3.5 weeks of vacation, 13 paid holidays and a non-contributory
pension plan with annual retirement benefits after 35 years equal
to about $40,000, plus a fully employer-paid health package, which
costs the employers an average of $42,000 per employee per year.
The PMA says its proposal will increase the overall compensation
package of ILWU longshoremen by 17 percent over a five-year period.
to members of the union, Miniace said, "This proposal not
only concedes to the union its demand of maintenance of health
benefits, but also enhances the current health plan."
capacity and improve the productivity of West Coast ports, the
PMA's proposal dealing with technology guarantees all currently
registered marine clerks will continue to have the opportunity
to work as marine clerks, and new work created from the technology
within clerks' jurisdiction will be ILWU marine clerks' work.
proposal reflects the top priorities of both the ILWU and the
PMA," Miniace stated. "We believe this proposal represents
an opportunity to modernize the West Coast waterfront and improve
the long-term job security of the ILWU dock workers who are integral
to the efficient operation and competitive standing of the West
negotiations on the West Coast waterfront have been closely watched,
due to their significant economic impact. Containerized cargo
that moves through the West Coast ports represents more than seven
percent of the United States' Gross Domestic Product and supports
nearly four million trade-related jobs throughout the country.
the importance of the contract proposal to be considered by the
ILWU caucus by noting that "the representatives of the ILWU
will be considering issues that not only impact the future of
the ILWU membership at West Coast ports but have a direct impact
on the United States' economy and millions of their fellow working
comes after two months of negotiations, and it is expected to
be voted on at the union caucus this week. However, the union's
initial reaction to the PMA's counterproposal expresses their
counterproposals included cutbacks in benefits, pensions and arbitration
process," the union said. "This was offset by small
wage and pension increases, a guarantee for clerks, all over the
life of a five-year contract. It is clear that the PMA figures
it can obtain this historic technology package without giving
anything in return.
gains that the employer's have been offered far outweigh the union's
demands. The union negotiating committee unanimously has recommended
a 'no' vote, and these latest proposals will be submitted to the
caucus for democratic debate. Most likely, negotiations will continue."