09 Feb Operations Return to Normal at West Coast Ports
Vessel loading and unloading operations resumed at 29 West Coast seaports Monday after being suspended over the weekend by terminal operators no longer willing to pay union workers premium pay for diminished productivity.
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced Friday that its members would suspend loading and unloading operations over the weekend, although yard, rail and gate operations continued at terminal operators’ discretion.
“In light of ongoing union slowdowns up and down the coast which have brought the ports almost to a standstill, PMA member companies finally have concluded that they will no longer continue to pay workers premium pay for diminished productivity,” PMA said in a release. “Yard operations – that is, moving processed containers for truck and rail delivery to customers – will continue at terminal operators’ discretion, although the ILWU continues to limit operations by withholding the needed crane operators or operating slowly.”
PMA represents the companies that operate container cargo shipping lines and terminals serving 29 West Coast ports that handle the vast majority of athletic and outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment imports entering the United States. The association has been attempting to negotiate a new contract with the International Longshoreman & Warehouse Union since May.
“After three months of union slowdowns, it makes no sense to pay extra for less work,” said PMA spokesman Wade Gates, “especially if there is no end in sight to the union’s actions which needlessly brought West Coast ports to the brink of gridlock.”