Another Waterfront Fight
Heats Up In Court

Techs at Maersk Lines in Oakland

Back in 2005, these techs at Maersk Lines in Oakland vowed to do what it takes to get back in the IAM. Eleven years later, a few of this group have died, but the rest are still around and still fighting.


The fight that started in 2005, when PMMC—the contractor at the ports of Oakland and Tacoma for Maersk Lines—changed its name to PCMC and informed all the IAM techs that they had to leave the IAM and instead join the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) to keep their jobs. That fight has since traveled from the National Labor Relations Board region to the National NLRB twice and now to the national court of appeal. In December, the IAM was back in court, still fighting for its long-time members to come back to their home union.

Meantime, PCMC left Oakland, having been fired by both of its customers here. Ports America, which had taken over the Maersk Terminal, has just been fired by their other Oakland customer, Taiwan-based Evergreen, who plans to bring the maintenance work in-house. Unfortunately, Evergreen plans to sign a contract with the ILWU. They've established a new subsidiary to handle the in-house work called Everports, which has put up a notice for workers at the ILWU hiring hall.

In Oakland, Local 1414 had represented employees in the chassis and power departments and Local 1546 represented the crane shop for a total of 27 employees. Local 1484 had represented 15-16 power shop employees in Long Beach. "No matter what problems the contractors have, with an average of 15 years seniority, these workers know their job and do it well, and Evergreen's managers know that," says ADBR Don Crosatto. "It would be a gross injustice to replace them with people who have never worked on that terminal before. Most importantly, if Everports hires back all, or a majority, of the employees, they'll have to bargain with and recognize the IAM, not the ILWU."

The union's case for getting the employees rehired is based on Oakland's Living Wage ordinance, Measure I. Passed in 2002, this law requires that if any port tenant change contractors, the new contractor must hire the existing contractor's employees and retain them for at least 90 days. On December 3, the union took them to court. While the judge was not immediately willing to grant a temporary restraining order to stop Everports from hiring new workers, the union will go back to court on Jan. 13 on the merits. "If we are successful, any employees who have not been hired back are subject to treble damages," Crosatto says.

On another, related matter, Everports moved ahead to join the Pacific Maritime Association. Crosatto says that move was premature, because they have no employees yet. "You can't have the employer sign a contract with zero employees and then force people into a union not of their own choosing. This is against labor law. We'll be taking this to the Labor Board."

In December, the union spent two weeks at the Ports America Outer Harbor trial. This trial stems from when the IAM won the first labor board case against PCMC, but the new terminal operator kept the contract with the ILWU, even though labor board decision directed them to deal with the IAM. "When they refused to bargain with us, we filed a charge at labor board, saying they're the successors to PCMC," says Crosatto. "The board has now started that trial and doesn't think it will be as lengthy because so much of the work was done in the original PCMC case."

Now in its eleventh year, the original case is headed to its final stop, the US Court of Appeal, some time in 2016. "That will be the last word on that case. If we prevail at that level, we will regain our work jurisdiction at the APM Terminal in Tacoma, and will be eligible to collect $40-60 million dollars in damages at the other two ports," says Crosatto.

Because of the employers' attorney's scheduling conflict, the trial will not resume until April.

Martinez To Replace
Buffenbarger As IAM President

The IAM announced that General Vice President Bob Martinez, Jr. will succeed current International President Tom Buffenbarger, who steps down on Jan.1, 2016 after a 45-year career that spans service as a local IAM Shop Steward to more than 18 years as the IAM's top elected official.

The announcement follows a vote by the union's 11-member Executive Council, in accordance with the IAM Constitutional requirement for senior elected officials to leave office at age 65. Martinez, a 35-year IAM veteran will serve the remainder of Buffenbarger's current 4-year term, which concludes July 1, 2017.

"The strength of this union has always been its ability to cultivate leaders who respect and reflect the values and goals of our membership," said Buffenbarger. "I'm grateful to have been part of that heritage and I have full confidence that Bob Martinez is the right person to carry on that proud tradition."

A native of Texas, Martinez served in the U.S. Navy before joining the IAM in 1980 as an aircraft assembler at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Ft. Worth, TX. Rising through the ranks, Martinez held numerous positions at the local and district level before assuming the office of Southern Territory Vice President in July 2003. In addition to his current position as Vice President in charge of IAM Headquarters, Martinez serves as a Trustee of the IAM National Pension Fund, and is Vice President on the National Executive Board of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).


SSA Terminals Long Beach Celebrates Its IAM Mechanics

Chassis Shop

On December 1, SSA Terminals held a surprise luncheon for all the employees working at its Long Beach facilities to celebrate, congratulate and thank everyone for their efforts over the last year.

"We want to congratulate and thank all of the IAM mechanics working at SSA whose team efforts achieved more than one million moves," said Bob Kelly, M&R Manager.

"The IAM mechanics who service all the mechanical equipment—from the gantry cranes to the power, refrigeration and chassis equipment—play a vital roll in creating the kind of efficiency and through-put possible to achieve an unprecedented, record-setting number of moves. In its class of a 256-acre terminal, this is a huge accomplishment, surpassing all other terminals here on the West Coast" said Dan McEntire, Dayside Foreman.

Rudolph Morales, President of Local 1484 added that "The IAM Mechanics working at SSA are some the most experienced, knowledgeable, professional tradesmen you will ever find. The company could never have achieved this success if it wasn't for the hard work and team effort put forth by all of our IAM mechanics."

"This has been a challenging year for a lot of us and I am really proud of everyone. The men in my department, their commitment, discipline, and some of sacrifices we have made to keep everything in operation deserve special recognition. My personal thanks to everyone," said Adam Young, Dayside Foreman of the Crane Department.

"With the IAM, you have one of the most knowledgeable, professional and experienced trade unions in North America," Area Director Kevin Kucera told the assembled group. "IAM mechanics understand the value of an integral partnership in meeting the needs of their company and their valued customers."

Retirees: Notify your Local of your current address

The International may delete your name from the roster if you don't keep your address updated with your local union.

Per Article H Section 1 of the IAM Constitution:

Retirement card shall cover all succeeding years providing the holders of such cards report to their local lodge (LL) annually, not later than March 1 of each year, advising the LL of their current mailing address. Failure to report by March 1 of each year will cause recall of their retirement card. LLs shall have the option to use their own reasonable method of advising retirees of this reporting requirement.

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