Ten Reasons to Vote No on the ILWU Longshore Contract


This article was posted on the Internet on Dec. 23, 2002, by a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The PMA is the Pacific Maritime Association, the employers’ group that the ILWU has to deal with in labor disputes involving its dockworker members.

  1. It was negotiated with a Taft-Hartley gun pointed at our union’s head.
  2. It widens the gap between skill (now skill III) and hold/dockmen, dividing our workforce into haves and have-nots.
  3. Dropping PMA-funded liability for the pension, from 85% to 65%, gives them a windfall without getting the union anything in exchange.
  4. It gives up clerk (i.e., longshore division) jurisdiction. Who’s next?
  5. A six-year contract is too long given the shaky economy and rapid changes in the maritime industry.
  6. There is no cost-of-living clause to protect our living standard despite the instability in the economy.
  7. It undermines the coastwide contract by pitting local against local with port differentials on wages, flex starts, and guarantees (i.e., 2 extra shifts or 20 additional hours to LA crane operators). It’s what PMA and Bush want to weaken us in order to divide us into port-by-port bargaining units. It has nothing to do with local autonomy. It’s PMA hegemony.
  8. There is no coastwide crane gang manning to reinforce our coastwide union standards.
  9. The big increase in the pension is a cynical “buyout” ploy to get the longshoremen who want to retire to vote against the younger longshoremen who have a future of work on the waterfront.
  10. President Bush, PMA’s Miniace, and ILWU President Spinosa think it’s a good deal!