Stalled contract negotiations slows dock work to a snail's pace

| 9/20/2002

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union called upon its members Sept. 17 to march on facilities owned by Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) Sept. 18 "to end the tyranny of one company at the bargaining table."

In actions in Seattle, Oakland and Long Beach, members of the ILWU and the growing ranks of community supporters demanded an end to the stalemate in contract negotiations between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association.

"Seattle-based SSA is the primary roadblock to an effective West Coast longshore contract settlement," said James Spinosa, International President of the ILWU.

Union actions against SSA were planned at the company's headquarters in Seattle, at Port View Park in Oakland and at the company's Pacific Coast Terminal in Long Beach, but the biggest disruption apparently occurred at the Long Beach terminal. In its response, the PMA says the ILWU's slowdown at the Port of Long Beach began Monday, Sept. 16, and is bringing work at the SSA terminal to a standstill.

In response to the slowdown, Miniace said, "The PMA has said over and over for months that we would not tolerate work slowdowns by the ILWU. The union is playing with fire and appears to be willing to jeopardize America's economic interests by initiating hit and run tactics against members of the PMA."

In a meeting Wednesday morning, Miniace briefed the PMA Board of Directors regarding the ILWU's action. In a unanimous vote, the PMA Board gave Miniace the green light to begin planning for a variety of defensive options to counter the ILWU work slowdown.