Los Angeles / Long Beach Harbor Employers Association


Date: Mon, Jul 12th, 2010

  OCU Drops Pickets, but Harbor Employers Remain Wary

OCU maintains unacceptable "featherbedding" demands despite employers' continuing offers of job security, work guarantees and pay, benefits increases

July 12, 2010




Steve Getzug

For the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association

(213) 219-8990 (mobile)


LOS ANGELES (July 12, 2010) - The negotiating teams representing employers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the following statement regarding the status of negotiations with ILWU Local 63A Office Clerical Unit (OCU):


A decision late Sunday by the OCU to drop pickets unconditionally at five terminals at the Southern California port complex is being viewed cautiously by harbor employers, who are scheduled to resume contract negotiations with the OCU today after a weekend break.  


The OCU gave no reason for dropping the pickets, which have disrupted port operations, threatened to shut down port operations completely, and have twice been condemned by an Area Arbitrator who ruled that the OCU is bargaining in bad faith.  Conversely, as a show of continuing good faith in its bargaining as talks continue, harbor employers have agreed to allow America's highest paid clerical workers at the affected terminals to return to their $96,900-a-year jobs.


Pickets and the ongoing strike since July 1 have generated concern within a harbor community fearful that OCU actions have set back a nascent recovery on the waterfront and put tens of thousands of other jobs connected to the ports at risk.  The OCU claims their actions are aimed at preserving job security, but the harbor employers have already answered that concern by offering complete protection against layoffs due to existing or new workplace technologies - with a promise not to outsource any jobs or transfer any bargaining unit work away from the OCU - and additional protections against layoffs for any other reason.


In addition to job guarantees, harbor employers have offered the OCU a wage increase, a 10 percent increase in the already extremely generous pension benefit, and maintenance of all in-network PPO health plans despite dramatically rising costs. 


OCU proposals would require employers to call in temporary employees and hire new employees even when there is no work to perform.  These unacceptable "featherbedding" demands encourage and reward absenteeism, reduce efficiency, and succeed only in making work for OCU employees when none exists.


The OCU also persists in attempting to undo contract language on implementation of new technology that the two sides agreed upon in 2004 and again in 2007.  Employers need to retain their right to introduce technology to better serve their customers and remain competitive in the rapidly evolving industry.


OCU workers are already the highest paid office workers in America - with some earning more than $250,000 a year.  Their average annual pay in 2009 was almost twice the average median household income in Los Angeles County.


About the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association

The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association is a not-for-profit association representing shipping agencies and terminal operators in Southern California. The Association assists its members in matters relating to the employment of OCU employees, including the administration of the labor contracts of member companies.


# # #

Link: http://www.harboremployers.com/web/news/press/details/?LOS-ANGELES-LONG-BEACH-WATERFRONT-LABOR-NEGOTIATIONS-UPDATE-22