Friday, June 1, 2012
Technology at issue as Southern Cal waterfront clerical workers walk away from talks
The Local unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union that covers 600 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. broke off from two days of negotiations with one of 14 marine terminal operators there, as technology implementation has apparently become a sticking point, according to an announcement made by the Harbor Employers Association.
The clerical workers had previously elected to bargain with each HEA member company one at a time on the heels of a coast arbitrator's recent ruling that ILWU members could honor an OCU picket line.
California United Terminals presented the ILWU's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit with three options for a new contract as the former agreement lapsed in September of 2010, according to a statement released by the HEA.
The first option presented by CUT included: unconditional job security; no outsourcing; health insurance and pension through the Pacific Maritime Association-ILWU plan; wage increase to a minimum of $87,000 per year by 2013; guaranteed pay for 40 hours per week; and a $3,000 incentive payment for a new agreement. The terminal operator said it would also modify technology implementation to ensure OCU work was not diverted elsewhere.
The second option would be, on several points, much like the first, but would not alter current OCU benefits, pensions, and offer a $1 per-hour, per year, wage increase.
The third option would be modeled on the OCU in Northern California that is aligned with the ILWU Marine Clerks contract.
However, the HEA says jobs and technology are the sticking points with the L.A.-Long Beach OCU. The clerical workers group wants new hires despite management's contention there is no current business need, and insisting vendors call, fax or email rather than use an employers' websites, according to the HEA. The terminal operators also contend OCU workers prefer to manually enter data instead of utilizing automated data transfers.
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