July 7 Strike Planned at Ports of LA, Long Beach

July 5, 2014
By Michelle Kelley

On July 7, ILWU members may not be clocking in to work at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach–and the reason may surprise you.

According to the Journal of Commerce, organizers with the Teamster’s Union are planning a week-long protest there, beginning July 7, against three drayage companies that they’ve been attempting to unionize.

The last time the Teamster’s Union picketed at the port, ILWU workers honored the picket lines, only returning to work after a ruling by a federal arbitrator.

Since the ILWU’s contract expired on July 1, unionized workers are no longer bound to such ‘return-to-work’ rulings. Should they choose not to cross the teamster’s picket lines, port operations will come to a stand still.

The one ray of hope in all of this, for what it’s worth, is the pledge made by both parties of the West Coast port labor negotiations. On July 1, in a joint press release, the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU stated that, “normal operations will continue at the ports until a agreement can be reached.”

Despite these dicey circumstances, one thing is certain: next week is going to be very interesting.