LA Dockers Strike The biggest labor news in the United States this week comes from California where the Port of Los Angeles is currently shut down. The 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is concerned with the shipping company …

Walton Pantland

LA Dockers Strike

The biggest labor news in the United States this week comes from California where the Port of Los Angeles is currently shut down. The 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is concerned with the shipping company’s efforts to replace jobs with machines and older workers with younger, lower-paid workers from elsewhere. The ILWU has been operating without a contract for nearly two-and-a-half years and finally began a strike last week. In an amazing display of union solidarity, ten thousand members of the ILWU dockworkers have honored the picket lines, effectively halting operations of ten of fourteen terminals at the busiest American seaport.

The strike is unlikely to last long. The stoppage has an estimated economic impact of over one billion dollars per day and the mayor of Los Angeles has been vocal about reopening the port. Negotiations continued around the clock over the weekend and mediators may get involved soon. The leverage seems to be in favor of the ILWU but let’s hope they are able to reach an acceptable agreement soon so they have the opportunity to make income before the holidays.

TSA sign Collective Agreement

The 45,000 officers for the Transportation Security Administration signed their first-ever Collective Bargaining Agreement just a couple days ago. The agreement took eight months to negotiate and primarily concerns time off, shift allocation, promotion to full-time status, and uniform allowances. The uniform allowances will almost double to $446 per year which his comparable to some military personnel. We hope that the TSA officers union and the US government can maintain a healthy, non-adversarial relationship in years to come.

National Hockey League Lockout

Another billion-dollar industry has been impacted by a labor stoppage, as the billionaire owners of the National Hockey League have locked out the players since mid-October. The players offered to start the season under the same conditions of the old collective bargaining agreement but the owners refused.

This is the third-straight work stoppage after a CBA between the two parties expired. During the last lockout in 2004-05 the owners cancelled an entire season and forced players to accept a 24% salary rollback on all existing contracts. The owners have tried to impose another rollback (among other demands) but the union has been much stronger this time around. Negotiations have been taking place on a weekly basis but little progress has been made. Many players have left to play overseas while they wait for a new CBA; others have begun coaching or gone back to college. The union has done a good job encouraging players to find other places to play while they stand united against the owners’ demands.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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