Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), said no to government
interference in the union's labor negotiations with the Pacific
Maritime Association (PMA). After the Bush administration made
known its intentions to block work slowdown or strike to keep
cargo moving through the West Coast ports, the ILWU called rallies
in Los Angeles, Oakland, CA, Seattle and Tacoma, WA.
Bush administration and the employers are trying to exploit concerns
about national security and a fragile economy," said rally
promotional flyers. "They want to use these concerns as an
excuse to attach one of the nation's strongest unions."
states: "Claiming this is an issue of 'Homeland Security,'
Tom Ridge has threatened government intervention if the dockworkers
decide to strike. Don't let the administration turn its 'endless
war' against the workers! Real national security is security of
our jobs and healthcare, not attacks on immigrant and workers'
PMA President Joseph Miniace has suggested the use of a third-party
mediator if the two sides cannot quickly bridge their differences
in the critical West Coast waterfront labor negotiations.
two months at the table, the union rejected the PMA offer, claiming
we were far apart. They then asked for a three-week break,"
Miniace said. "If the union is not prepared to return to
the table with a serious offer [Aug. 13], I believe third-party
mediation is the only solution."
out the PMA has made "a generous offer, providing a 17 percent
increase in overall compensation, enhancing benefits and providing
time has come for one of two options: hard bargaining or mediation.
One way or the other, we must work to resolve our differences
as quickly as possible," Miniace said.
not name a specific mediator, but rather suggested the parties
jointly agree to one. He indicated he was open to the union's
ideas, and wanted simply to find an experienced individual who
could help the parties reach agreement.
request followed a series of communications with the union prior
to this round of negotiations, in which he said the issues to
be addressed in the talks were of such great significance he believed
it would be a good idea to start negotiations early, or to consider
the help of a third party. The union rejected those suggestions.
began May 13, for a coast-wide contract covering about 10,500
members of the ILWU. Since that time, the two parties have met
28 times for a total of 53.5 hours. On July 25, the union informed
PMA it would not be available to meet until Aug. 13.
PMA offer increases wages, provides for 100-percent employer-paid
healthcare, guarantees jobs for all current ILWU members and enhances
the economy in questionable shape, and with nearly 4 million American
jobs dependent on West Coast trade, it is essential we reach agreement
without delay," Miniace said. "I urge the union leadership
to join me in resolving our differences."
-- Rene Tankersley