Workers to Rally Against Pacific Maritime Association

Workers to Rally Against Pacific Maritime Association

Labor activists in Northern California will hold a rally Monday in front of the Pacific Maritime Association headquarters in San Francisco to protest a court action earlier this month that was initiated by the waterfront employers group.

These developments stem from a one-day work stoppage April 4 at the ports of Oakland and San Francisco. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 called for the work stoppage to express solidarity with state workers in Wisconsin. The governor and legislature in Wisconsin had moved to terminate collective bargaining rights for state workers.

When the ILWU took its job action on April 4, the PMA sought a ruling from the local arbitrator under the terms of the West Coast waterfront contract. PMA President James McKenna said the local arbitrator and then the coast arbitrator ruled that the work stoppage was illegal and the longshoremen had to return to their jobs.

PMA followed up by seeking confirmation of the rulings by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Labor activists in Northern California termed this action a "bullying" tactic and, along with the San Francisco Labor Council, plan a rally for 11 a.m. Monday in front of the PMA headquarters in the downtown area.

McKenna said PMA's decision to take the matter to the courts is a normal procedure when there are work stoppages. The ultimate goal, if further work stoppages are anticipated, is to secure a court-ordered temporary restraining order, he said.

ILWU spokesman Craig Merrilees said Monday's rally is not being called by the international union or by Local 10.

However, ILWU demonstrations and work stoppages such as the April 4 incident involving labor issues that occur out of state or even in other countries have occurred for a number of years. ILWU Local 10 noted that expressing solidarity with workers around the world is part of the union's legacy that is expressed in their motto, "An injury to one is an injury to all."

-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com. Follow him on Twitter @BillMongelluzzo.