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10 Reasons to Vote "No" on the ILWU Longshore Contract

Disclaimer - This was written by an official of the ILWU (his name is not included for his protection) on December 23, 2002. He has no affiliation with the IWW, nor does this statement's inclusion here suggest that he authorized its posting on this web site. We repost it here for the sake of debate and rank & file dissent

1) It was negotiated with a Taft-Hartley gun pointed at our union's head.

2) It widens the gap between skill (now skill III) and hold/dockmen, dividing our workforce into have and havenots.

3) Dropping PMA funded liability for the pension from 85% to 65%, gives them a windfall without getting the union anything in exchange.

4) It gives up clerk (i.e. longshore division) jurisdiction. Who's next?

5) A six year contract is too long given the shaky economy and rapid changes in the maritime industry.

6) There is no cost-of-living clause to protect our living standard despite the instability in the economy.

7) It undermines the coastwise contract by pitting local against local with port differentials on wages, flex starts and guarantees (i.e. 2 extra shifts or 20 additional hours to LA crane operators). It's what PMA and Bush want to weaken us in order to divide us into port by port bargaining units. It has nothing to do with local autonomy. It's PMA hegemony.

8) There is no coastwise crane gang manning to reinforce out coastwise union standards.

9) The big increase in the pension is a cynical "buyout" ploy to get the longshoremen who want to retire to vote against the younger longshoremen who have a future of work on the waterfront.

10) President Bush, PMA's Miniace and ILWU President Spinosa think it's a good deal!