Oakland Dockworker Shortage Frustrates Shippers, Carriers

While the Port’s volumes have recovered from the work slowdowns and employer retaliation that slowed container cargo processing at major ports up and down the West Coast earlier this year, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 is currently refusing to let part-time longshoremen drive yard tractors as they do at other West Coast ports.

The ILWU states that it warned employers about the pending labor shortage months ago, but that new hiring was halted during labor negotiations and have been slow to resume since the new five-year West Coast ports labor agreement was ratified in May. In response to the backlog, the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU have agreed to promote 100 part-time workers, known as casuals, to registered status and to hire 400 new casuals. However, even with additional hires, the Local 10 will likely continue opposing the use of casuals as tractor drivers, and it is unclear how management and longshoremen will resolve issues of container yard congestion.

Cargo congestion along the West Coast has significantly impacted the domestic supply chain and remains a critical issue for many members. If you have questions about the latest news on port operations, please contact Will Sehestedt at sehestedt@tianet.org or 703-299-5713.