ITF Comment On Port of Los Angeles Strike

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today reacted angrily to reports that trade union representatives’ phone calls had been bugged by their employers at the Port of Los Angeles, USA.

The Office Clerical Unit of Local 63 of the ITF-affiliated ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), the branch involved, today began a strike at the port.

Speaking from Cyprus, where dockers’ and seafarers’ union leaders from around the world are meeting, ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated: “These are extremely serious charges. The world leadership of the dockers’ and seafarers’ unions of the ITF resolve to give full support and solidarity to the ILWU members affected. The company concerned is part of the Maersk international group, where there is an established dialogue, so the ITF will be urgently seeking high level meetings with them to find explanations and a functional resolution of the matter.”

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[Picture: The ITF is currently holding high level meetings with Maersk in Cyprus]  

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More information

The ILWU has released the following press statement, which can also be seen here:

Office clerical workers at Port of Los Angeles go on strike to stop outsourcing good jobs needed by working families in Harbor community
•    November 27, 2012 12:55 pm

LOS ANGELES, CA – Clerical workers went on strike today at 12-noon at Pier 400 in the Port of Los Angeles to stop international corporations from outsourcing dozens of good-paying jobs that support working families in the Harbor community.

 “We’re drawing the line against corporate greed and outsourcing that’s destroying the good-paying jobs that support working families in our community,” said Trinie Thompson, a Logistics Clerk who works at the Port. “The jobs here come with excellent wages and benefits – but they’ll eventually disappear if companies keep outsourcing them to India and Taiwan.”

The 800 workers who belong to ILWU Local 63’s Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU) have been trying to negotiate an agreement with big international carriers and terminal operators for more than two years, since their three-year contract expired on June 30, 2010.

“We’ve been meeting with the companies for more than two years, but they’re still concealing their outsourcing – even when they’ve been caught red-handed,” said 63-OCU President John Fageaux. “These employers seem to have an insatiable appetite for outsourcing,” he said, noting that the Harbor community has lost at least 51 permanent positions during the past 5 years, and that the companies have announced plans to take away another 76 in the future.

“This outsourcing isn’t being done by little mom-and-pop operations; these are powerful multi-national corporations who aren’t respecting the local communities,” said ILWU International Vice-President Ray Familathe, who added, “these guys can outsource a good-paying job to Taipei with the push of a button, and seem to care less how it impacts a family living in the Harbor area.”

“It’s not about wages and benefits, it’s about outsourcing and the future of good jobs in America and our Harbor communities,” said Fageaux.  “We just reached the point where somebody had to stand-up and draw the line against outsourcing, because these companies will eventually take all the good jobs.”