When will unions get real?

The Port of Oakland’s contract with Service Employees International Local 1021 expired last year at this time, and it appeared that a tentative agreement had been reached last March

By ·

With stalled new job growth and stagnant increases in worker compensation, one might assume that organized labor would welcome contract extensions at one of our nation’s largest seaports. But we are talking about Oakland.

The Port of Oakland’s contract with Service Employees International Local 1021 expired last year at this time, and it appeared that a tentative agreement had been reached last March. But the union – representing 250 employees in the areas of janitorial, maintenance and security – refused to compromise. Here is what the port had put on the table:

• Maintenance of current employee wages
• Continued 100 percent employer-paid healthcare
• No changes to retiree healthcare for current employees
• Current employees would pay 5 percent of employee share of CalPERS retirement plan with the Port paying 3 percent of the employee contribution and the full 23.6 percent member share
• New employees would pay 8 percent share of CalPERS retirement plan with the Port paying the full 23.6 percent member share
• No Cost of Living Adjustment increases but added a COLA re-opener on July 1, 2014
• Port continues reimbursement of SDI payment for employees

After the union membership’s rejection of the tentative agreement that protected their salaries and benefits, the Port and SEIU remain far apart in resolving a new contract.
Given the increasing likelihood that an agreement would not be reached at the bargaining table, the Board of Port Commissioners overwhelmingly authorized the Port Bargaining Negotiating Team to pursue “impasse” proceedings.

The Board action was consistent with its guiding framework of sustainability and parity for new labor contracts: long-term sustainability so that the port can get back on a strong financial footing, and parity with like institutions so that the port is not at a competitive disadvantage offering unsustainable pay and benefits.

Impasse action has several stages, including mediation, and could take several months to advance toward a new contract.

Meanwhile, union workers can thank their leadership for passing up a sweet deal.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Labor · Ocean Cargo · Ocean Freight · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Lead your organization through the driver shortage and over-the-road regulations.
Potential transportation disruptions are looming as increased over-the-road regulations are set to go into effect in 2017. Experts believe these regulations will further impact the already challenged driver pool as well as reduce driver productivity.
Download Today!
From the January 2017 Issue
Following LM tradition, we start off the New Year with our annual “Rate Outlook” cover story and subsequent Webcast
Moore on Pricing: The other TMS functional options
2017 Rate Outlook: Where are freight transportation rates headed?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Rate Outlook: Where are freight transportation rates headed?
Join our panel of top oil and transportation analysts for an exclusive look at where rates are headed and the issues driving those rate increases over the coming year.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...

Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....