Los Angeles/Long Beach Waterfront Labor Negotiations Update

Harbor Employers Offer Job Security Protections and Benefit Improvements to Keep Southern California Ports Open, Preserve Jobs and Sustain Cargo Volume Rebound

As Deadline Approaches, Local 63 OCU Fails to Provide Proposal; Sets Course for Disruption

Jun 30, 2010, 19:04 ET from Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association

LOS ANGELES, June 30 /PRNewswire/ --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):

For the past ten weeks, negotiating teams representing 14 terminal operators and ocean carrier agencies at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports complex have been meeting with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit. Local 63 OCU represents about 600 clerical workers who provide customer service and other support for cargo movement operations of the companies at the two ports.

With labor contracts set to expire at midnight tonight (PDT), the harbor employers continue to pursue negotiations with a goal of reaching new agreements that are fair and reasonable, and without disruption to port operations. This is critical at a time when thousands of dock workers are just returning to full time work and cargo volumes are starting to return after more than 18 months of an historic decline.

The employers have offered today to meet with Local 63 OCU representatives at any one of three locations, including any nearby hotel, at 6 p.m. tonight to exchange contract proposals, and Local 63 OCU has refused each one. We join the harbor community in its concern that Local 63 OCU appears to be setting a course for disruption, not resolution. With a fragile economic recovery underway, it is irresponsible that the Local 63 OCU, which represents office workers earning an average annual salary of $96,900, would turn its back on the community, make unfounded claims, and pursue a path of disruption.

Despite union claims, the harbor employers have not transferred union-represented employee work overseas and have not proposed to do so. Though the container shipping industry has lost billions of dollars over the last 20 months, harbor employers have offered the following job security and benefit improvements to their office clerical employees:  

  1. Job security by retaining all existing current employees despite inconsistent availability of sufficient work and a fragile recovery.
  2. A 10 percent increase in the already extremely generous pension of $150 per month for each year of service (which equals $54,000 a year for a 30-year employee) to $165 per month for each year of service by the end of the contract.  That is more than double the $81 per month for each year of service that unionized workers at Boeing in Long Beach recently went on strike to obtain.
  3. Maintenance of all in-network PPO health plan benefits, including free generic prescription medications, with no contribution to the cost of coverage by the employees and low $5 co-pays for all doctor visits, except chiropractors (which would be $10).

In addition, on May 1, the harbor employers implemented a 10-month deferred $1 per hour wage increase, raising the base wage rate to $40 per hour. This increase is on top of the average $96,900 pay employees earned in 2009. The union acknowledges that their members are the highest paid office clerical workers in the nation.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex directly and indirectly supports more than 3.3 million jobs, and is the landing point for more than 40 percent of the nation's imports. The port complex is a critical economic engine for the Southern California region and the rest of the United States. Given the impact on the public and the importance of the continued movement of cargo to the fragile economic recovery, the port should not be shut down over unfounded claims that OCU work has been transferred, and where job security and excellent benefits have been offered.

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.

Contact:

Stephen Berry, lead negotiator for employers

Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association

(714) 603-6001 (mobile)



SOURCE Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association



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