- js reader version
- email this article
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Mark Vorpahl
Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2013 at 3:51 PM
Part I -
It’s a familiar pattern: those on top of the economic ladder enjoy massive profits, while expecting workers to sacrifice even more for the “greater good.”
This storyline weaves itself into every justification for anti-worker policies. From Washington’s potential Grand Bargain that would cut trillions from needed social programs, to the workplaces with their stagnating wages and declining benefits, those on top plead poverty to workers while stuffing their pockets beyond belief.
The argument is also currently being repeated by the giant multinational corporations that control the nation’s shipping ports.
Fortunately, the Longshore workers are organized into powerful unions that have the ability to fight back against big business greed — something that was recently demonstrated at the port strikes in Los Angles and Long Beach, and which is now underway in the union negotiations happening at ports along the East Coast and at the ports in the Northwest.
Victory in Southern California
An impressive victory was achieved in Los Angeles last month as a result of an eight-day strike by the 800 members of the Office Clerical Unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63.
For two years the workers had been without a contract as a result of stalling by the Harbor Employer Association. The main issue on the table was job security: the employers were hiring more nonunion superintendents through attrition, outsourcing work to nonunion contractors elsewhere in the U.S. and overseas, and finding ways to get fewer employees to perform more work. The members of ILWU Local 63 wanted to put a halt to this not only to preserve their own jobs, but to have these jobs available for future generations.
After two years at the bargaining table, it became clear that the Harbor Employer Association was unwilling to move on the union’s issues. The membership was left with no choice but to strike. And it was Longshore solidarity that won the day.
Ten thousand dockworkers refused to cross Local 63′s picket line, leaving 10 of the 14 ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach at a standstill and $760 million a day of merchandise untouched.
The strike made the impact it needed to; suddenly, the Harbor Employer Association discovered that they were able to make more movement on the union’s demands in a few days than they had for the previous two years.
After eight days on strike, a tentative agreement was reached and later ratified by membership vote. The Harbor Employer Association’s attempts to outsource, at the cost of future working class jobs, hit an unmovable obstacle, resulting in a victory that demonstrates how taking collective action to shut down production can win.
Developments on the East Coast
On the East Coast, a different Longshore union is facing its own difficulties. The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) represents 15,000 union dockworkers at 14 ports from Maine to Texas. These ports handle 40 percent of all U.S. container cargo. The ILA is in negotiations with the United States Maritime Alliance Ltd. (USMX), an alliance of container carriers, direct employers, and port associates.
It has been 35 years since the ILA went out on strike. And at the end of December, it looked likely that this stretch was up. Dec. 29 was the final day of extended contract negotiations and the membership was ready to grab their picket signs.
The main point of contention was container royalties, a decades-old fee of $4.85 per ton of container cargo paid to the ILA membership. This is a significant amount of income that the workers take in. USMX insisted on reinstating a cap on this fee that the ILA had successfully fought to remove in the last two-year contract.
In an e-mail an ILA spokesman said the following:
We let USMX defer $42 million of container royalty money to help pay for the $1.00 an hour increase that was due longshore workers — we, in essence, paid for our own raise — and now USMX wants the CAP back on. They got the benefit and now they want us to go backwards.
On Dec. 28, ILA President Harold J. Daggett sent out a public announcement stating:
I am pleased to announce that the ILA made major gains on the Container Royalty issue that will protect our ILA members. Consequently, we agreed to extend the ILA Master Contract by 30 days, beyond the December 29th deadline (because of the year-end holidays, the deadline of the new extension will be February 6, 2013).
What these major gains are remains unclear, and George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is demanding that all parties keep their lips tight for now. Consequently, there is no telling how the next few weeks of negotiations will go.
The ILA membership does not have any reason to stand down from strike preparations. The moment for decision will come when the membership has a tentative agreement in their hands and has a chance to read the fine print, collectively discuss it and vote.
The only certainty is that they are more likely to get a good contract and avoid a strike if they are prepared to go on a strike that will choke USMX’s profit flow off.
Report this post as:
Pacifica-KPFK Archives, director resignation
SAVE KPFK & PACIFICA: VOTE IN THIS CRUCIAL ELECTION!
KPFK radio elections for LSB coming Quick !
KPFK Local Station Board Elections In-Progress
Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge
Why are the Park Rangers making it even more difficult for the homeless in Los Angeles?
Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights
Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression
War Within California's 46th CD
NPR's David Greene & Alison Aubrey along with David Ludwig Shill For Factory Farm Eggs
2016 AT&T Shareholders engaged by Communications Workers of America D9 Activists
Communications Workers of America District 9 Action at AT&T Shareholders
Voter Registration at ELAC
LA Times Fails to Cover Protest Against Clinton
Violence Against Poor In Venice
California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall
NPR's Marketplace: The Voice of Loanshark Capitalism
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Pandering to the Corporate Whores of the Storage Industry
Lartiste Maestro iTunes télécharger de la musique gratuit et Légalement 2016
Spring 2016 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert!
KPFK and Pacifica, more doings, reposted here
Liberated Political Prisoner Sekou Odinga Speaks Out
Solidarity With Anaheim
More Local News...
Evidence to indict fbi thugs
Mental dwarfs rule our world
The Shortwave Report 06/24/16 Listen Globally!
Crackbird Yukon misadventure
Paraphysique de sismographie politicarde
Sur negro / No Borders: new antiauthoritarian Web Series goes live
53 Of The Ways The World's Military Harm Animals
Non-Profits versus Profit Maximization
USA is run by the criminally insane
Recent assaults cleverly perpetrated by fbi
International Day of Solidarity With Oscar López Rivera
Encodage de l'encéphale, encodage du capital
Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines supports state burial for Ferdinand Marcos
High crimes committed by fbi / cia in the name of Americans
Nuclear Shutdown News June 2016
The Shortwave Report 06/17/16 Listen Globally!
Religious Leaders Ask Senators to Pass Puerto Rico Debt Legislation
De l'incendie du Reichstag à l'hôpital Necker, la provocation policière
Freedom for Hoover the tiger after life spent in circus cage
WINNIPEG'S HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER IS COMMITTING MASS MURDER
Why Vote Third Party in 2016
Paraphysique de l'hypnologie politicienne
Akbayan rejects Chinese call for dropping West Philippine Sea arbitration
Orlando Shooting Permitted By fbi Assassins
Parallaxe, systémie, téléonomie
May 2016 Honduras coup update
TIME WILL TELL
More Breaking News...