Thursday, July 9, 2020
Home News Automation as Threat to Community

Automation as Threat to Community

Background on automation battle at POLA

By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

Anyone paying attention to the March 21 Harbor Commission’s appeal hearing on APM Terminals (part of the Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk)  permit application to automate Pier 400 terminal would have noticed the display of re-framing the debate. In response to the uproar against their permit — against automation ­ APM Terminals has said their permit was valid and legal and broke no rules under the PMA Coastwise agreement with the ILWU and met the Port of Los Angeles requirements for a Title I permit.

The Mechanization and Modernization Agreement, which was signed in 1960, distinguished between three classes of longshoremen workers. Depending on the level of the workers, each worker could guarantee a certain set of benefits.

The three classes of longshoremen created by the agreement: “A” book workers who have full ILWU membership; “B” men, who  are partially registered with the ILWU; and Casuals, who are not  recognized as being attached to any aspect of the longshoremen industry and would only work peak days when the “A” men and “B” men lists were exhausted. These men could not claim any benefits as mentioned in the contract or in the M&M Agreement.

Under the M&M Agreement employers were allowed to introduce new technology and devices that would improve the ports’ productivity, efficiency, and reduce the number of labor forces needed. In exchange, job security for the “A” book workers was guaranteed. If modernization resulted in job losses, those losses would first result in loss of employment for “B” men and Casual workers  so as to prevent the loss of employment to the basic workforce.

The M&M Agreement provided job security for ILWU members but it didn’t anticipate the degree of efficiency that would be achieved by the introduction of new technology and containerization at ports. By some estimates, the introduction of technology reduced the need for labor by up to 90 percent.

If that weren’t enough, dock jobs were being placed outside of port areas, sparking jurisdictional disputes between different unions. Since the signing of the M&M Agreement, the ILWU has brought other unorganized, nonunion waterfront occupations into the union to counteract the corrosive effect new technology at ports is having on job security. The union has pushed back against the ticking time bomb effect of new technology and automation in subsequent contract years.

The changes seen in the relationship between labor, employers and technology in the goods movement industry are changes seen in other industries affecting communities across the United States like auto manufacturing.

When the spokesman for  APM Terminals John Ochs says, “There’s nothing in the Pacific Maritime Association’s Coastwise Contract that prevents the introduction of new technology or automation,” ILWU Local 13 vice president, Gary Herrera agrees. But Herrera argues that the permit appeal isn’t about the union’s contract, but about the impact automation will have on the local community. The fight against APM Terminals’ Title I permit is about a community rallying together to prevent the kind of crushing job losses that destroyed ways of life when the canneries and the shipyards closed down in the 1980s.

One other point not to be overlooked is that POLA executive director Gene Seroka is a former long time employee of American President Lines, one of the leading shipping companies in the world and he signed the level I permit. It is also widely rumored that he is in line to become the executive director of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which has brought some to ask whether this is a potential conflict of interest.

Most Popular

Unfinished Business and the Sins of the Fathers

Trumpism out of step with 157 years of progress “The gods visit the sins of...

Icarus Falls

Former POLA president Nick Tonsich sued for $5 million in fraud complaint “This is a Wright brothers moment!” Pasha...

Community, LAPD Discuss Defunding, Homeless

The City of Los Angeles does not want the Los Angeles Police Department to be the lead agency for homeless outreach, said...

Despite Protests, LB Reluctant to Defund LBPD

By Dayzsha Lino, Editorial Intern “Defund the police” is a rallying cry that has seemed to gain notoriety as...

Recent Comments

DAVID J LEE on Think: George Floyd
M Mackey on Think: George Floyd
Michael S. Motta on Think: George Floyd
Thomas "HOUSE" Houchens on Think: George Floyd
Eliath Mena on Think: George Floyd
Deidre Powell on Think: George Floyd
Marcia Ladymgirl on Think: George Floyd
Jennifer L on Think: George Floyd
Carlos Fisher on Think: George Floyd
Jose "cheMMa" Rodriguz on Think: George Floyd
Aniza Thomas on Think: George Floyd
David Seay on Think: George Floyd
Marc LJ on Think: George Floyd
andre edwards on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on From Pop Culture to Cop Culture
Sharon Hislop on Think: George Floyd
Fetteroff on Think: George Floyd
Raul Acevedo Jr. on Think: George Floyd
Mel Grayson on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on A Virtual World of Events 
Alice r. Knoop on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Joshua E Chambers on Take me to Sardine
Chad Dorchester on Take me to Sardine
Terelle Jerricks on Change Won’t Be Televised
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Bob Kohler on About
Judie M Barker on About
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Vivian Morales on From War to Lowrider
Robin Doyno on Staff
Publisher on About
Joe Stackhouse on Advertise
Marshariki Haylock on A Stabbing in San Pedro
CARRIE MENDOZA on A Stabbing in San Pedro
Martin Palmiere EMC(SW) ret. on Trouble on the Iowa
Martin A.Palmiere EMC(SW) USN(ret.) on Trouble on the Iowa
John H Winkler on Frequently Asked Questions
J. McVey on Staff
Malou Mariano on Tampering and Collusion
Terrell Williams on The New Gap Band Fills The Gap
Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D. on About
Harold Ericsson on Letters to the Editor
Hillbinkel on Trouble on the Iowa
Ian Gordon on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
larry lebedin on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
Joseph Bianco on Frequently Asked Questions
Deborah Steed on Zerby Family Finds Solace
Don Griffin on Rosenberg
Pete on About
Anne Marie Knudsen on Clem Pennington is the Whole Package
Terelle Jerricks on About
Lyn Jensen on Go Retro with Records
Steven R. Heldt on Fig Trees Are Like Democracies
Joanne Sims on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Dave Borst-Smith on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Charles Traupmann on The Buscaino Report:
james P. Allen on Across the Great Divide
Allyson Vought on Across the Great Divide
PBinLostAngeles on RL NEWS Roundups: June 14, 2016
davehall on Voter Guide
Chris formica Gringos Tacos on Food Truck Blues
Random Lengths News on Iowa Fever
Tinisha Rodrique on IMG_1761
polos fred perry on Less Than a Side Show
cheap soccer jersey on Less Than a Side Show
le mahjong gratuit on The Surrealness of Knives and Breast
Harry and the Gang on Sherlock Holmes at the LB Playhouse
neufert architect s data pdf on IMG_1761
sewing machine reviews on Annie at the Warner Grand