Teamsters protesters were picketing in the harbor area. The Pacific Maritime Association immediately called in the jointly appointed PMA-ILWU arbitrator.
In such situations, the arbitrator normally takes about two hours to determine if the protesters have erected a “bona fide” picket line. If the arbitrator determines the picket is illegal under the waterfront contract, the arbitrator will order the longshoremen back to work.
The Teamsters since yesterday have been protesting in the harbor area against three trucking companies they accuse of engaging in misclassification of drivers. The Teamsters have been attempting to organize independent-contractor drivers at those companies. Cargo-handling and gate operations at marine terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach continued without interruption yesterday, as protesters for Teamsters-affiliated Justice for Port Truck Drivers distributed informational flyers in the harbor but did not attempt to block access to the terminals by members of the ILWU.
It is ironic that yesterday the longshoremen, who are in contract negotiations with the PMA, agreed to extend their previous contract for three days.
When the previous contract expired on July 1, the ILWU refused to extend that contract. Under those circumstances, the PMA could not have called in the area arbitrator. Likewise, without an agreement in effect, the “no-strike” clause of the previous contract had expired, and longshoremen could choose to honor picket lines.
The relationship between the ILWU and the Teamsters has never been close. However, the support of the ILWU has been solicited in this instance.
Employers speculate that since they are now able to call in the arbitrator, the ILWU was able to show solidarity with the Teamsters, with the assumption that the arbitrator will order the longshoremen to return to their jobs.
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor | Jul 08, 2014 2:07PM EDT