The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have reached a tentative agreement on the issues of chassis maintenance and repair, according to the Journal of Commerce. This has been the major roadblock to reaching a new waterfront contract at West Coast ports.
Although details of the chassis agreement have not been released, it is believed that the ILWU mechanics will have the jurisdiction to inspect every chassis before it leaves the terminal. In recent years the carriers s sold their chassis to equipment-leasing companies. Those companies are not members of the PMA, and they have no contractual relationship with the ILWU.
Hundreds of longshoremen are mechanics, and their jobs would be threatened if the ILWU lost jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair (M&R). Since the chassis-leasing companies now own the assets, and are the financially responsible party if an accident occurs and injury or death results, the leasing companies must take M&R responsibilities seriously, which raises the question of why an additional inspection for roadability is needed at the marine terminals. Concerns also include equipment being “red-tagged” as inoperable because of defects, if the ILWU chooses to do so frivolously to exert leverage over employers. During the negotiations, some truckers reported to their dispatchers that they were having trouble finding roadworthy equipment because the ILWU in Los Angeles-Long Beach would randomly hold a “red-tag party” at various terminals.
On the East Coast, the International Longshoremen’s Association has the right to inspect all chassis before they leave the marine terminals.
PMA spokesman Steve Getzug said on Monday even thought that the tentative agreement was reached, the ILWU work slowdowns in West Coast ports are continuing.
RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the development of the situation and report further updates once available.