Organized labor trumps “Occupy” in PNW
February 13, 2012
The Port of Seattle appears to be the latest battleground for the Teamsters’ drayage agenda. Cargo operations were substantially disrupted last week, as union organizers enlisted scores of independent owner-operators in a “stop work” effort that put their colleagues in a bind. At issue here – and elsewhere on the West Coast – is how drivers who only work when freight needs to be moved can be fully employed as unionized labor.
The Puget Sound’s ocean cargo gateways are also under siege by state legislators seeking to pass Washington’s House Bill 2527. If passed, this would give law enforcement professionals the power to determine if and when an intermodal container chassis is unsafe. It should come as no surprise that the Teamsters’ are also supporting this law, as it would give them more power as a sanctioning body.
The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association has appealed to executive directors at the Port of Seattle and Tacoma to voice their opposition to the bill as it conflicts with current federally mandated requirements. The PMSA quite rightly points out that here, too, drivers would be paid for “trips they don’t make.”
Couple the trials and tribulations attributed to the Teamsters along with recent “Occupy” events, and it’s clear to see why shippers may take their business elsewhere.
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