Here the latest information from the National Transportation League:
WEST COAST PORTS: NOW IT’S HARDBALL
After nine months of bargaining the Pacific Maritime Association on Wednesday afternoon delivered what amounts to an ultimatum to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Saying that management has tabled its “best offer”, PMA President Jim McKenna outlined publicly key elements of their “all-in” offer to the union. The offer includes 3% wage increases each year in a five year contract, a substantial increase in the maximum pension benefit for retirees, full protection of the employer paid health care plan (with no premiums, co-pays or deductibles), and union job jurisdiction on maintenance and repair of chassis. This last item has raised considerable questions and concerns among chassis owners and lessors who are not at the bargaining table.
Not to be outdone in the public relations battle, ILWU President Bob McEllrath issued a press release later in the day challenging management to stay at the table to finish contract negotiations, saying the two sides were very close to wrapping up talks. McEllrath also pushed back on the PMA’s not so veiled threat to shut down operations if the union did not accept the last offer. McKenna noted that while this is an end point for the PMA they are willing to negotiate some aspects. Both sides repeated the same charges they’ve been leveling against each other for weeks: the PMA asserts that the ILWU has been engaged in deliberate slowdowns at every major container port, and the union continues to place the blame on a chassis shortage and the new large vessels calling at west coast ports.
The union is expected to meet later today to review the offer. Rumors are rampant that either a lockout or walkout is imminent. If either work stoppage occurs, the League and a host of others are prepared to ask the President to immediately begin the process of obtaining an injunction under the Taft Hartley Act.