Dreary International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) inspections pilling up to the LA- Long Beach adding grossly to the Congestion
The bulk of this content is sourced with JOC. However, some opinions are more forthright and in no way represents the opinion of JOC.
Mind games, the dockworkers in Los Angeles-Long Beach are ingenuously, deliberately adding to the serious congestion at the marine. According to JOC, dockworkers’ pulling trucks over and requiring inspections that reportedly go far beyond the normal safety procedures.
The mechanics on the Wednesday night shift, International Longshore and Warehouse Union reportedly targeted several terminals, requiring additional steps in the normal safety inspections that they perform on trucks and chassis as they exit the facilities.
“Our sources are telling us the ILWU is purposely slowing down operations,” said Eric Sauer, vice president of policy and government relations at the California Trucking Association.
Under any regular circumstances, the dockworkers’ action would be disruptive for the busiest US port complex. But, because the ports have already been suffering from terminal congestion caused by strong cargo volumes, severe chassis dislocations and tardy intermodal rail service, (not a JOC phrasing) the dockworkers further sabotage our economy and affect the jobs that they undermine. This is under-handed and un-American.
Here is how one trucking company executive described what took place Wednesday night at the out-gate of a particular terminal: “Drivers are required to follow some new and additional steps after transiting basic roadabiliy stop. Drivers are now also required to make a secondary stop where drivers are asked to turn off their truck, step down from their truck, step away from the truck as mechanics inspect the truck, container and chassis before letting the driver leave. As you can imagine, this is a very tedious process and has congested the terminals,” the executive said in an e-mail.
Sauer said the CTA received a number of reports of such slowdowns at several terminals on Wednesday night. Incidents of extra inspections reportedly continued into Thursday.
It is perhaps coincidental, but on Thursday the National Retail Federation, in a letter to the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association, urged a quick resolution to the contract negotiations that began on May 12. The contract deadline was July 1, and the ILWU has been working without a contract since then. The NRF said these conditions could be contributing to congestion at the Southern California port complex.
Neither the ILWU nor the PMA could be reached regarding the lengthy truck inspections, but if the reports from truckers are accurate, this is the first incident where actions by the union
could be tied to the contract negotiations.
The terminals of late have also been having trouble filling a number of their work orders each day with experienced longshoremen. They have been forced to hire more part-time workers, known as casuals, to fill the positions. Casuals are generally considered to be less productive than experienced longshoremen.
The dayside dispatch report on Thursday listed casuals as filling 61.8 percent of the longshore jobs, 42.9 percent of the key clerk positions and 46.5 percent of all marine clerk jobs.
Congestion is becoming an ugly problem in Los Angeles-Long Beach during this peak season. Sauer, agreeing with other industry executives who have commented on the issue, said chassis
shortages and dislocations are at the root of the problem.
Sauer said his member trucking companies are being told by the terminals, “If you don’t have a chassis, don’t bother coming in.”
Many forwarders have their shippers with containers at the port waiting for their expensive game to be put to rest, stopping the hemorrhage of money from further disruption.