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Short ILWU Analysis- whats at stake

by Paul H. Rosenberg Monday, Sep. 30, 2002 at 3:10 PM
(from LA-IMC listserve)

The ILWU may be "only" 10,500 strong, but it's arguably one of the strongest and most militant unions in the US. It's never a good idea to get hysterical, but this is definitely a serious threat.

The ILWU may be "only" 10,500 strong, but it's arguably one of the strongest and

most militant unions in the US. It's never a good idea to get hysterical, but

this

is definitely a serious threat. I've been writing about this conflict for most

of

the summer in Random Lengths, so this doesn't come out of the blue for me.

Here's a

bit of background.

First off, the issue is NOT technology, it IS outsourcing. The 1960

Modernization

and Mechanization (M&M) Agreement set up the basic framework which has been in

place

ever since. The M&M Agreement says that the union will not oppose

modernization,

and the employeers will not use modernization to get rid of union jobs--all new

and

remaining jobs will be union jobs. This agreement has NOT been honored by some

members of the PMA in recent years--most notably Stevedore Services of America

(SSA), which owns a number of other companies, such as Matson. SSA has

outsourced

jobs to Utah, for example.

The head of the PMA, the employeer's association, was basically hired to break

the

union--either literally or figuratively--and this is his last negotiation before

HIS

contract is up. SSA was instrumental in his hiring. At the very least, he was

supposed to break their spirit and make them accept managements terms, which

would

lead to the long-term decline of the union, at most was the hope of breaking the

union completely. The Bush Adminstration has openly speculated about breaking

up

the jurisdiction units, so that each port would negotiate separately. This

would

effectively destroy the union's bargaining power.

Most of August was taken up by the union rallying political support to tell the

Bush

Administration to keep out of negotiations. The ultimate purpose of the lockout

is

to paint it as a strike, give the Bush Administration an excuse to invoke

Taft-Hartley, and then go even further--once again casting labor rights as an

impediment to the "war on terror," just as he's doing with the Department of

Homeland Security. Active support can definitely make a difference now,

demonstrating that such an attempt to cast labor rights as dangerous will not

succede.



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PRESIDENT METAL STAMPING CO BRYAN SCHAFFER Tuesday, Oct. 01, 2002 at 1:33 PM
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