The Indian Shipping Ministry’s decision to corporatize India’s ports has met with protest from the Transport and Dock Workers’ Union. An indefinite strike is schedule for March 9th.
(Source: Press Trust of India)
U.S. west coast port labor and management have come to a tentative agreement. Though union members will still need to ratify it, this agreement has allowed ports to return to work at full capacity. According to Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, the backlog that the slowdowns and lockouts have created will take upwards of three months to rectify.
Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal. “West Coast Ports Face Several Months’ Backlog” www.wsj.com 2/22/2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/with-tentative-labor-deal-reached-west-cost-ports-resume-full-operations-1424630077 (2/23/2015).
Thomas Perez, the U.S. Labor Secretary, has given the dockworkers’ union and the Pacific Maritime Association till Friday to come to an agreement and sign a new contract. If an agreement is not made on the single remaining point of contention, Perez plans to drag both parties to Washington to complete negotiations.
Andrew Khouri, LA Times. “Labor Secretary Perez sets Friday deadline in port dispute” www.latimes.com 2/20/2015. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-port-talks-20150220-story.html (2/20/2015).
Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg. “Biggest Drop Since ’09 Hits U.S. Ports as West Coast Suffers” www.bloomberg.com 2/18/2015. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-18/west-coast-port-labor-fight-costs-u-s-economy-as-shipments-slow (2/19/2015).
Nine months of negotiation between U.S. West Coast port management and labor has resulted in a satisfactory deal with one exception. That solitary issue is the hook that this process is snagged on. The union wants the right to dismiss an arbitrator. Currently both management and labor have to agree to the dismissal. Why is this so important to the union? It seems it is down to one particular arbitrator, David Miller, who has been arbitrating for Southern California since 2002. The union feels he is pro-management. Miller is requesting proof of this bias. He says there is no basis for the allegations. He believes he must have upset someone and they are retaliating for a previous perceived slight. The closed door talks with the U.S. Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, are likely focused on this issue.
Justin Pritchard, Associated Press. “AP sources say port talks focus on arbitrator” www.news.yahoo.com 2/17/2015. http://news.yahoo.com/us-labor-official-overseeing-stalled-west-coast-port-082212492–finance.html (2/18/2015).
With Friday’s talks ending in stalemate and the port lockouts beginning to impact the U.S. economy, Thomas Perez (U.S. Labor Secretary) is scheduled to meet with the dockworkers’ union and maritime association today. After nine months of negotiations and the assistance of a federal mediator, the organizations have been unable to come to an agreement. 29 U.S. west coast ports have been affected by this dispute, which is impacting international trade and the U.S. supply chain.
Justin Pritchard, Associated Press. “US labor official looks to untangle West Coast port dispute” www.denverpost.com 2/17/2015. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_27541011/us-labor-official-overseeing-stalled-west-coast-port (2/17/2015).
Zero Hedge, in their article, “Catastrophic Shutdown of America’s Supply Chain,” provides us with the visuals to understand the seriousness of the port congestion on the U.S. west coast.
Tyler Durran, Zero Hedge. “Catastrophic Shutdown Of America’s Supply Chain” www.zerohedge.com 2/12/2015. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-12/catastrophic-shutdown-americas-supply-chain-begins-stunning-photos-west-coast-port-c (2/13/2015).
The Pacific Maritime Association has just announced that West Coast ports will be closed Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Karma Allen, CNBC.com. “West Coast ports shutting down… again” www.cnbc.com 2/11/2015. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102413710 (2/11/2015).
Portland’s weekend port closure may have been the last straw for Hanjin Shipping. Yesterday, in an official email, they dropped the Port of Portland as a distribution point. They didn’t cite specific reasons, but the two year ICTSI and local longshore worker dispute has been a point of contention in the past. This will be a huge economic hit to the region. The business supported over 500 jobs and produced $83 million for Oregon’s economy annually. Hanjin will continue to service Portland by air, truck and rail.
Molly Harbarger, The Oregonian/OregonLive. “Hanjin Shipping officially leaves Port of Portland, taking vast majority of port’s business with it” www.oregonlive.com 2/10/2015. http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2015/02/hanjin_officially_leaves_port.html (2/11/2015).
This weekend 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast were temporarily closed. They are scheduled to reopen today.
Sarah Aitchison, Puget Sound Business Journal. “West Coast ports halt activity until Monday” www.bizjournals.com 2/07/2015. http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2015/02/07/west-coast-ports-halt-activity-until-monday.html (2/9/2015).