ILWU Joins Truckers Strike?
What are all these grumblings and rumblings about the ILWU dockworkers joining the truckers strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach?
In Universal Cargo Management’s last blog, I wrote about the truckers strike happening now and quoted an article by Brian Watt to highlight how unlikely it is that the ILWU dockworkers would join the strike:
“The ILWU and the Teamsters don’t get along” said [trucking industry veteran Greg] Stefflre, the CEO of Fontana-based Rail Delivery Services. “The ILWU has jurisdiction there [at the Ports], and the Teamsters would like jurisdiction there, so there’s a natural antipathy between the two that I think bodes against them [ILWU members] doing a ‘sympathy’ shut-down.
And then what happens? ILWU members walked off the job, showing solidarity with the truckers strike!
Don’t worry. This was very short lived. ILWU dockworkers left work to join the strike around 10am on Tuesday, but were ordered back to work by 11am.
The ILWU, or International Longshore & Warehouse Union, and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have taken a short break from their negotiations. But first, they agreed to extend the expired ILWU contract to cover this time.
Because the PMA and ILWU had extended the contract, a labor arbitrator was able to order the dockworkers back to work.
As long as the ILWU does not join the Teamster-supported truckers strike happening right now, it is not likely to have much of an impact on port operations. In other words, imports and exports should continue to flow smoothly.
Jonathan Van Dyke, in an article on Gazettes.com, quoted Port of Long Beach spokesman Lee Peterson:
“Right now (Wednesday), the trucks are still coming in and going out of all the terminals and the cargo is moving through the port,” he added. “There is not impact today on cargo operations.”
Van Dyke also shared at which terminals truckers are striking: ITS on Pier G, Long Beach Container Terminal on Pier F, and Total Terminal International on Pier T.
Labor practices of the three trucking companies Green Fleet, Pacific 9 Transportation, and Total Transportation Services Inc. are what the truckers are striking over. The truckers claim all three companies have broken federal labor laws.
You can see more about the issues these truckers are going on strike over in this blog from a previous 2-day strike they staged.
But I guess a lesson to learn here is never underestimate dockworker union member’s propensity to join a strike at the ports. Even if they’re not exactly on friendly terms with the Teamsters backing the strike.
This strike from the truckers does not have a scheduled end. As the negotiations for a new ILWU contract drag on, the situation with the truckers adds to the danger of slowdowns at the busiest ports in the United States.
Hopefully, the negotiations will not drag on. Despite the short break happening right now (which only goes through tomorrow, Friday, July 11th), both the ILWU and PMA seem committed to getting this contract completed without disruptions to port operations across the west coast.
Still, many shippers have done things like importing their goods for the holiday season early as a contingency against shutdowns or slowdowns at the ports.
Here at Universal Cargo Management, we’re always working hard to make sure your shipments ship smoothly as possible, whether you’re exporting or importing. That means we’re keeping a close eye on the strike and contract negotiations happening right now.
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