PMA Officials have admitted today that West Coast congestion crisis has been the result of managerial mistakes and dock workers are not the prime cause
During contract negotiation processes on Monday afternoon, Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) officials stated in front of a mediator and longshore negotiators that ports on the West Coast have managed to reach a point when there is little to no space available for storing the additional import containers that arrive on the docks – and no space whatsoever regarding the export and empty containers that return to the docks.
The PMA made it crystal clear during negotiations that by no means are they blaming union workers for the primary causes, responsible for the congestion crisis. They elaborated on the manner by saying that the lack of space, for empty and export containers, which are being returned on the docks, was exacerbating the existing chassis shortage – due to the fact that the export-bound containers are a major source of desperately needed chassis that have turned into the #1 choke-point, ever since shipping lines recently stopped providing a chassis for each container that arrives to West Coast ports.
After a thorough explanation on how the lack of dock space regarding containers and shortages of chassis were taking their tow on the ports, the PMA decided it would be wise to announce a plan to cancel night-shifts at a vast number of ports. Along with cutting down shifts at some of the major container ports, the PMA cutbacks would also affect the bulk and break-bulk operations. It seems as if there is no apparent reason behind the decision, other than to generate anxiety among dock workers.
The union has noted that the cancellation of night-shifts and the reducing of bulk operation will not help at all with the congestion crisis. It appears that the PMA is abusing public ports and putting the economy at razor-blade’s edge in what seem to be a self-serving attempt to take control of the situation that is going on over at the bargaining table, and manufacture the appearance of a crisis, simply to boosts up its credentials over at Washington.
“Longshore workers are ready, willing and fully able to clear the backlog that has resulted from the industry’s inefficient decision-making tactics,” commented Bob McEllrath, ILWU President. “The employer is making a fair share of nonsensical moves such as cutting back on shifts at a critical time like this, while also creating a gridlock in a preposterous attempt to turn the opinion of the public against dock workers. This is by no means an environment in which negotiations can lead to an agreement, satisfying both sides of the table.”