Trade Resources Company News OIA Sent a Letter to President Obama Expressing Deep Concern About ILWU and PMA

OIA Sent a Letter to President Obama Expressing Deep Concern About ILWU and PMA

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is among more than 100 federal, state and local associations that signed on to a letter sent to President Obama expressing deep concern over the deteriorating state of negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

The ILWU and the PMA have been negotiating since last May a collective bargaining agreement covering dockworkers which expired in July. The ILWU represents dock workers at more than 29 West Coast portss. The PMA represents the companies operating the container cargo terminals at those ports.

The letter was prepared in response to recent developments and accusations by the PMA of a work slowdown by the ILWU at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma and concern that these slowdowns are spreading to L.A. and Long Beach, which handle a  large percentage of the athletic and outdoor apparel, footwear and equipment imported to the United States.

The letter asks President Obama to use “all available options” including encouraging both sides to engage federal mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). 

“We further believe that if a strike or lockout occurs, the consequences would be so serious as to warrant you exercising the extraordinary authority granted under the Taft-Hartley Act  (29 U.S.C. Ё 176-180) that would likely result in requiring the parties to work with the FMCS,” reads the letter.

Taft-Hartley requires unions and employers to give 80 days' notice to each other and to certain state and federal mediation bodies before they may undertake strikes or other forms of economic action in pursuit of a new collective bargaining agreement and puts further restrictions and prohibitions on labor organizations in order to “promote the full flow of commerce."

President Bush used Taft-Hartley to intervene after a shutdown of 29 West Coast ports in 2002 due to a similar impasse between the ILWU and PMA that some estimate cost the U.S. economy $1 billion.

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Trade Groups Want Obama to Intervene Should ILWU Action Spread to Socal Ports