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Indybay Feature
Sun Aug 6 2017
Class War on the Waterfront
ILWU Dockworkers Squeezed by Automation, Abandoned by Democratic Politicians
Retired ILWU Local 10 member and chair of the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee Jack Heyman writes: The ink wasn’t even dry on the West Coast longshore contract when the head of the employers’ group, the Pacific Maritime Association, proposed to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union a three-year extension, making it an eight-year contract. While the number of registered longshore jobs, 14,000, is the about same as in 1952, the volume of cargo passing through the 29 ports has increased 14 times to a record-breaking 350 million revenue tons a year.

Under the current contract, employers have eliminated hundreds of longshore jobs through automation on marine terminals such as the fully automated Long Beach Container Terminal and the semi-automated TraPac freight-forwarding facility in the Port of Los Angeles.

“By the end of an extended contract in 2022, several thousand longshore jobs will be eliminated on an annual basis due to automation,” warned Ed Ferris, president of ILWU Local 10 in San Francisco. With driverless trucks and crane operators in control towers running three cranes simultaneously, the chance of serious and deadly accidents are enormous.

Now maritime employers are pulling out all stops to push through this job-killing contract extension, using both Democratic and Republican politicians, high-powered PR firms and even some union officials.

photo Read More | photo Technology, Automation, Internationalism, Longshore Workers And The Future Of Work

See Also: ILWU Local 10 Members Face Hanging Nooses At Port Of Oakland

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