ILA President Harold Daggett
International Longshoremen Association leaders were forced to talk their membership off the brink of a strike earlier this month that would have closed East Coast and Gulf Coast ports.
It’s not often that you see a union and its membership so out of step with each other. Usually, at the very least, they try to present a united front. ILA leaders are going to have to find a way to convince their members that they are working for them so the U.S. economy isn’t faced with an actual port shut down.
The last port closure occurred in 2014. West Coast ports were closed for 10 days during negotiations between employers and ILWU. The estimated cost to the U.S. economy of those closings is approximately $1.9 billion per day.
In this issue:
Union Membership Drops Yet Again Just Another Lazy Union Afternoon… Union Pension Turmoil Insight, Right-to-Work, Sticky Fingers and more…
The bottom of each story contains a link to the individual post on our site.
Labor Relations Insight by Phil Wilson
Is there a “Trump Effect” on Union Organizing?
Just about every call I’ve had since Donald Trump’s November surprise gets around to THE question. Will Donald Trump’s election mean the end for labor unions? Or will unions rise like a phoenix from the ashes and organize like never before as a reaction to the new administration? Or maybe something in between?
I’ve mostly answered this question the way lawyers tend to answer questions (sorry): “It depends.” But we are now beginning to get some data that is shedding light on the “Trump Effect” on labor unions. And for unions the data is not looking good.
Continue reading Labor Relations INK – February 2017
Just another day at the docks for the International Longshoremen’s Association as they shut down a shipping terminal at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, while another Virginia ILA official was sentenced to 3 ½ years in federal prison for defrauding his union members of $1 million. Robert Smith, a former business agent for the dockworkers, pleaded guilty last October.
Meanwhile, the UFCW demonstrated their method for dealing with employees bold enough to speak out against discrimination and harassment. When Chula Vista-based UFCW organizer Anabel Arauz filed a complaint against beleaguered UFCW boss Mickey Kasparian, the single mother was sent to frigid Utah and demoted to handling paperwork and grievance filings. Arauz said Steven Marrs, president of the Federation of Agents and International Representatives (FAIR – an offshoot of the UFCW) told
Continue reading Just Another Lazy Union Afternoon…
After 18 months of uncertainty, members approved a contract negotiated by International Longshoremen Association officials and the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore. The agreement is intended to supplement ILA’s upcoming coastwise master contract which addresses automation, outsourcing of work, and health care, among other items. Approval of the contract comes as a relief to customers as well as officials and employers who have dealt with continued strife since the three day strike in October 2013. That relief, however, may not last long.
Last November, Wilbert Rowell was named Trustee of Local 333 when accusations arose that leaders of the chapter had been stacking union rolls in order to win local elections. Upon Rowell’s appointment, he purged the rolls of about 500 recently appointed members.
86 of those employees whose membership was taken away from them, in addition to former Local 333 president Riker McKenzie and former recording secretary
Continue reading How to Drive Business Away
In 2010 when ICTSI Oregon, the company that operates Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland, first took over operations, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union put on a happy face and welcomed the company with open arms. Since then, the two have been involved in a major dispute over who would be responsible for plugging and unplugging the power cords on reefers (refrigerated containers). Last December, the decision was made to reassign those jobs from members of the electrical union to longshore workers.
Since that decision was made, the Port’s general manager and ICTSI’s manager at Terminal 6 have both filed affidavit’s with the NLRB claiming that productivity has severely decreased, estimating that the performance cost for this operation has tripled from $300,000 a year when the Electrical Workers were responsible to $900,000 a year now that ILWU has taken over.
The union has continued to ignore the
Continue reading Laziness At Terminal 6
Vincent “The Vet” Aulisi
Three former members of the International Longshoremen’s Association have seen their days of muscling “tribute payments” come to an end. Vincent Aulisi is the former president of Local 1235, Thomas Leonardis was the president from 2008 until he was arrested in 2011, and Robert Ruiz was a union delegate and former ILA representative.
All three pleaded guilty to using real or implied threats of force or violence against fellow members of Local 1235 to extract “tribute,” and each face a possible 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. At the ages of 82, 56 and 55 respectively, they may end their lives behind bars.
It pays to remember that violence is a mainstay of Big Labor tactics. According to The United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on February 18, 2014
“An indictment was unsealed…and arrests made, in a case charging ten members of Ironworkers Local 401 with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault, in order to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers.
The group, who one member referred to as “THUG” – The Helpful Union Guys,” were employed by the Local to “protest construction sites that used non-union labor.” From allegedly assaulting non-union members with a baseball bat to setting a crane on fire, these men are independently facing anywhere from 15 years to a statutory maximum of 130 years in prison.
In Baltimore, the International Longshoremen’s Association punishment isn’t as harsh as jail time, but that’s because
Continue reading Big Labor’s Inherent Aggression
UPDATE: Strike ended. Some details here.
In response to the strike that has shut down 10 of the 14 Los Angeles and Long Beach ports for 8 days and counting, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called for round-the-clock bargaining with the use of a federal mediator.
The strike, which started Tuesday, Nov. 27, is part of the over two-year-long labor dispute between the 800 member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit and the shipping management.
While small in numbers on their own, some 10,000 dock-working members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (who negotiate separate contracts) are refusing to cross the picket line, triggering national concern.
Members of the National Retail Federation recently alerted President Obama and members of Congress to the severe financial consequences the strike could have on the national economy. The
Continue reading Strike Closes Ports, Los Angeles in Panic
According to the New York Times, rooting out discrimination in union hall hiring in New York Harbor is nearly as hard as rooting out corruption. The longshoremen’s union has again defied government order last week, refusing to send a representative to a mandatory hearing and making the stunning announcement that the Waterfront Commission had no authority to demand that all hiring be done without discrimination. Put another way, the ILA is exerting the right to continue to discriminate at its own discretion.
The commission has been pushing for years for a more diverse workforce on the docks; union hiring halls are sending in a workforce that is 80% white and male and not at all reflective of the neighborhoods surrounding the
Continue reading NY Longshoremen Still Defiant About Diversity
Faced with the threat of massive Occupy and Longshoremen union protests, the U.S. Coast Guard has announced it will be escorting the first ship to be loaded at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview some time this month. The grain carrier, bound for China, will be escorted up the Columbia River and out to sea in the event protestors in small boats attempt to somehow disrupt the ship’s passage.
Since July, the ILWU has been holding high profile sometimes-violent protests at the new terminal claiming EGT’s lease agreement stipulates they can only use ILWU local 21 members. (EGT instead hired a Washington state sub-contractor that uses operating engineers from another union.) The ILWU has been fined $300,000 for damages done when
Continue reading Coast Guard Will Protect Ships From Union Violence in Longview