« Back | LOS ANGELES / LONG BEACH WATERFRONT LABOR NEGOTIATIONS UPDATEDate: Wed, Nov 28th, 2012
LOS ANGELES / LONG BEACH WATERFRONT LABOR NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE
OCU Continues Irresponsible Actions, Creates Chaos and Uncertainty by Widening Strike and Shutting Down Operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
(LOS ANGELES November 28, 2012, 3:30 p.m.) - The negotiating teams representing employers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the following statement regarding the status of negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit ("OCU"):
Emboldened by ILWU union members' refusal to honor an Area Arbitrator's order directing them to return to work, the OCU dramatically widened its strike this morning, raising pickets at multiple facilities throughout the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. After picketing for approximately one hour, the OCU returned to work at some harbor employers' off-terminal facilities, but remained on strike at the terminals, shutting down operations in the ports. The OCU's conduct shows an irresponsible willingness to jeopardize port operations and thousands of jobs in the Los Angeles area in an effort to pressure the employers into accepting its unreasonable demands.
The OCU's actions mark a dangerous escalation in the ongoing labor dispute. If the OCU continues its strike, the negative effects on jobs and the economy will be felt nationwide.
The OCU has attempted to justify its actions in the media by perpetuating myths that they are not fighting over money and that employers are taking away jobs, but the OCU claims do not hold water:
Myth #1: "The Employers are outsourcing jobs."
The Facts: This claim simply is not true. Not one OCU job has been sent overseas, or anywhere else. On the contrary, the employers have offered complete protection against outsourcing by providing:
- An absolute guarantee that no OCU workers will be laid off.
- Guaranteed full-time pay for 52 weeks a year, whether there is work to do or not.
- Grievance procedures that protect against diversion of OCU work by imposing monetary penalties every time a non-union employee performs union work (no matter how small the task), unless contractual exceptions allowing the work to be done apply.
- OCU access to computer database update histories and audit trails, allowing the OCU to investigate and ensure that no one is using technology to divert their work.
- Detailed procedures upon implementation of technology, requiring employers to disclose any impact on OCU work, respond to a series of information requests, and provide a comprehensive demonstration.
Myth #2: "Management is doing our work."
The Facts: The OCU are making this claim to support an unlawful demand that employers convert some managers to union-represented clerks as a reward for giving the OCU misleading and/or false information that the OCU sought to use against the employers during contract negotiations. The OCU have no other evidence that any company has directed managers to perform union work.
The real purpose behind this claim is to promote "featherbedding"-requiring employers to call in temporary employees and hire new permanent employees even when there is no work to perform. These unacceptable demands encourage and reward absenteeism, reduce efficiency, and do not justify the current strike or the union's decision to shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Myth #3: "This is not a dispute over money."
The Facts: The OCU rejected each employer's latest wage and pension proposals, insisting that the employers' proposal to increase OCU annual compensation packages to over $190,000 in wages and benefits by 2016 is not enough. The employers' proposals would have given OCU employees average annual wages up to approximately $90,000 per year and pensions of up to $75,000 per year. The OCU have demanded more.
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 ILWU Local 63 office clerical employees, including the administration of the labor contracts of member companies.