The Pacific Maritime Association will stop calling on longshore workers to load and unload ships at night at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as of Tuesday night, the organization said in a statement to the Business Journal.
“Instead, we’re going to direct nighttime crane operators and other workers to move containers off the yards at congested terminals and onto trucks to create more room,” said Steve Getzug, a spokesperson for the association. The association represents international shipping companies and terminal operators in the ongoing labor contract negotiate with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dock workers.
Getzug said by recommending longshore workers stop unloading ships, daytime workers will be better able to clear the cargo that has been unloaded but stacked up at port terminals. Earlier this month, the association initially recommended reducing workers to relieve the congestion.
Both actions are the latest twist in the months-long contract negotiations between the association and the union. Federal mediators said this month they would join the labor talks, which cover workers at all West Coast ports.
In a letter responding to the association’s most recent work reduction recommendation, the union said that the cuts are not justified and are hurting cargo owners who have been waiting to get their goods.
“It is not a sound management decision and will inflict direct damage on the industry and retailers large and small,” the union wrote in a letter to the association. The union’s Local 13 in San Pedro also said it will provide workers for night shifts if the shipping companies or terminal operators request them. Companies are not required to follow the association’s staffing recommendations.
The contract between the association and the union expired in July. Negotiations for a new contract began in May.
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