UPDATE | Congressman Alan Lowenthal, who represents California's 47th Congressional District, released the following statement in response to the Pacific Maritime Association's (PMA) announcement that vessel loading and unloading operations will be suspended beginning at 5:00PM tonight, and will not resume until Monday, February 9 at 8:00AM:
"I am deeply discouraged by the PMA's decision to stop all vessel work at the 29 West Coast ports over the weekend. There is no question that the congestion at port terminals up and down the West Coast is worsening every day. The damage being done to our local, regional, and national economies is also growing, impacting not only the ILWU and their employers, but workers across the nation large and small.
"Discontinuing calls for labor over the weekend is not going to make the situation at any facility better. It also is not going to improve the atmosphere at the negotiating table.
"Both sides have made clear over the past few days that they believe there is a path to a contract that will end this situation.
"I strongly urge both sides to take swift steps to restore the steady flow of cargo through our ports while also redoubling their efforts at the negotiating table with the federal mediator to reach a speedy conclusion."
PREVIOUSLY 2:27PM | The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced Friday that vessel loading and unloading operations will be suspended beginning at 5:00PM Friday, and will resume Monday, February 9 at 8:00AM. According to City News Service, this includes suspensions at the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and other West Coast ports.
“After three months of union slowdowns, it makes no sense to pay extra for less work,” said PMA spokesman Wade Gates in a statement, “especially if there is no end in sight to the union’s actions which needlessly brought West Coast ports to the brink of gridlock.”
On Wednesday February, 4, PMA President and CEO James C. McKenna said during a Youtube announcement that “the PMA must decide how much longer we are going to pay longshore workers to work slowly. These slowdowns are having the same result as a workers' strike. Except the workers are still getting a paycheck. The slowdowns need to stop. The terminals cannot withstand anymore. We are truly close to gridlock.”
According to today's announcement, yard, rail and gate operations will continue at terminal operators’ discretion. According to the release, PMA member companies have reached the decision to “no longer pay workers premium pay for diminished productivity” due to “union slowdowns up and down the coast, which have brought ports almost to a standstill.”
The PMA concluded that yard operations, including moving containers for truck and rail delivery, will continue at the discretion of terminal operators, adding that the “ILWU continues to limit operations by withholding the needed crane operators, or operating slowly.”