Labor news: West Coast ports near shutdown, Teamsters withdraw Con-way vote

Updated Feb 10, 2015
Port of Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles

Labor disputes continue to plague West Coast ports, and according to the Pacific Maritime Association, 29 ports on the country’s Pacific edge could shut down within days unless a deal is struck between them and port workers.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach partially shut down this weekend, and the PMA says it others could be shut down within days.

The PMA made an “all-in” contract proposal Feb. 4 in hope of ending nine months of negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Since October, the Pacific Coast employers association has accused the dockworkers and clerical union of instituting work slowdowns.

A federal mediator joined the talks Jan. 5 after both sides requested help negotiating the contract affecting 20,000 workers in 29 ports. The union temporarily extended their contract when it expired in July, but refused another extension late last fall.

The PMA’s five-year contract offers a 3 percent wage hike for full-time workers, who currently average $147,000 annually. It contains a 5 percent cost increase per year and increases the maximum annual pension to $88,800. Workers would keep current health benefits which include no premiums, co-pays or deductibles if using in-network providers.

-Jill Dunn

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In other trucking labor news, the Teamsters withdrew a vote for union affiliation at a Con-way facility in Orlando, Fla.

The union announced its intent six months ago to attempt to organize workers at Con-way, the country’s fifth biggest fleet, according to the CCJ Top 250.

Con-way counts the withdrawal as a victory. Several other petitions have been withdrawn at Con-way facilities in recent months and at FedEx Freight facilities, where the Teamsters are also attempting to organize drivers and workers.

So far, Con-way workers at four facilities have voted against joining the union, while three others have elected to join.

-James Jaillet

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