ILWU targets more SSA terminals with slowdowns, vandalism, says PMA

| 9/24/2002

The Pacific Maritime Association reported Saturday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union had resumed work actions against Stevedoring Services of America, slowing down a terminal in Tacoma and vandalizing a break-bulk facility in Portland, OR.

PMA officials in San Francisco contacted officials at ILWU's international headquarters, who said they were unaware of the work actions, and would investigate.

The Tacoma work action took place at a specialized roll-on, roll-off operation at Sea Star Stevedoring, a subsidiary of SSA. At this facility, truck chassis with containers are driven on and off the ship by ILWU labor using a UTR vehicle. This ship calls on this terminal two to three times a week, and moves goods between Tacoma, WA, and Anchorage, AK. As part of its complement of labor, SSA ordered 36 drivers to drive the UTR vehicles.

The ILWU dispatched 14 of the 36 drivers requested by SSA. Most of the union members who did show up had little familiarity with the ship operation. As is the case week in and week out, SSA expected to complete operations on the vessel by 2:30 a.m. The drivers moved the goods very slowly. The union also raised safety issues related to construction at the site that has been ongoing for several weeks. There was no change to the work site.

As a result of the ILWU slowdown and failure to dispatch adequate numbers of drivers, SSA had to order additional workers for the graveyard shift. The slowdown continued, requiring SSA to place a new order for workers for the morning shift. The ship, which normally sails at 2:30 a.m., departed Tacoma at noon Sept. 21, nearly 10 hours behind schedule. The slowdown doubled the normal amount of time it takes to work the vessel. The ILWU action also caused a doubling of the labor cost to work the vessel.

In Portland, SSA operates a break-bulk operation at Terminal 2. As a result of poor productivity by the night crews the previous night, SSA determined Friday night the vessel in port would not be worked by those crews. When members of the ILWU showed up, SSA sent them home. In this case, the workers received four hours of pay rather than the full amount for an eight-hour shift.

One of the night crane operators, without authorization, hoisted a load of steel rail that had already been hooked up on the day shift, and landed it on a rail car and catwalk, causing damage to the cat walk and blocking the rail line.

The catwalk is damaged and will need to be replaced. The steel rail will need to be reassembled and offloaded to a truck.