Congressman Lowenthal: Reducing LA/LB Port Night Shifts Will Increase Port Congestion

January 5, 2015
Press Release
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing West Coast ports contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Merchant Association (PMA):

"Our local, regional, and national economies—to the tune of more than $1 billion a day—depend on the efficient and timely flow of goods through the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

"I firmly believe that the ILWU and the PMA should be allowed to conclude their negotiations without outside intervention and urge both sides to stay at the table to reach a new contract quickly.

"Coming to an agreement on a new contract must involve key decision makers from both sides. The ILWU leadership is sitting at the table but the PMA leadership has yet to join the talks directly. This must change."

"Furthermore, while negotiations continue, actions that make the congestion at the ports worse will do little to speed along a contract agreement and only further impact the economy.

"The unilateral steps taken by the PMA over the weekend to eliminate up to two-thirds of the night time labor at the LA/LB ports will increase congestion and eliminate work for hundreds of dock workers who have to support their families.

"I urge both sides to redouble their efforts at the negotiating table and aggressively pursue an agreement that can be speedily approved by all sides. Once the labor issues have been resolved, we can then focus on the overriding causes of congestion at the ports—namely, the shortage of chassis and the massive increases in container traffic."