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Longshoremen Make Offer In Port Talks

July 18, 2002

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Seeking to avoid a strike at West Coast ports, which could put port truckers temporarily out of work, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has offered to accept new technologies
it says would mean fewer jobs in exchange for higher wages and pension benefits.
However, the Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents shipping lines and cargo loading companies, said the union’s offer did not go far enough, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The contract, which covers about 10,500 dockworkers, was supposed to expire July 1, but both parties have extended it on a day-to-day basis as they try to work out an agreement.
The proposal is the union’s first detailed response to the PMA’s desire to add new efficiency-boosting technology to the ports. The union has resisted the new technology, fearing they would lose jobs.
The paper reports that PMA negotiators believe the number of union jobs would actually be higher under the ILWU proposal, because the union would extend its jurisdiction to clerical jobs that are sometimes performed by nonunion contractors.

Truckers who haul containers in and out of the ports are not members of the ILWU, but would be significantly affected by a strike or slowdown.

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