Dockworker vandalizes L.A. terminal systems

Dockworker vandalizes L.A. terminal systems

LOS ANGELES - Police on Thursday were trying to determine why a longshoreman vandalized computers and other equipment at the Trans Pacific Container Service Corp. terminal at the port.

The incident is a setback for the terminal's efforts to implement new technology designed to increase efficiency and reduce labor costs.

Los Angeles police Wednesday arrested the dockworker, a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Following ratification of the ILWU contract earlier this year, TraPac took a leading role in implementing computer technology as called for under the six-year agreement. TraPac is using optical character readers at the gates and a global positioning satellite yard management system.

TraPac's circuit boards that relay instructions from the computerized yard management system to equipment operators were damaged. However, the terminal's mainframe was not affected.

TraPac is working around the problem and continues to operate most of its existing technology, but the incident will likely delay the introduction of new technology being developed by the terminal.

Although the ILWU in recent months held numerous meetings with TraPac executives and questioned the impact of each new technology on marine clerk jobs, implementation of the computerized systems was proceeding smoothly.

ILWU President Jim Spinosa said the vandalism was the act of one individual. "We may have some differences of opinion as to how TraPac is doing it, but this is not how we will deal with technology," Spinosa said through a spokesman.

The 12 other container terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach have been moving cautiously in implementing technology, preferring to see how the union reacted to TraPac's efforts before moving forward at their facilities.

The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents waterfront employers in contract negotiations, declined comment while police are investigating the incident.