I am disgusted by the Pacific Maritime Association’s (PMA) attempt to bully workers on the West Coast by suspending port activity last weekend, and again today. This temporary lockout is only the latest in a string of destructive negotiating tactics by the bosses, causing shipments to be delayed up and down the West Coast. To increase the profits of a few multinational corporations, the PMA has cost the US economy up to $2 billion a day and made hardworking longshore workers lose wages.
The PMA has blamed the ILWU for the shipping backlog, but if they were really concerned about it, why these lockouts? Let’s not forget that last month, employers cut crane crews at night, claiming too much congestion on the dockside yards.
In Seattle, the port workers and their unions, ILWU Local 19 and others, have proved that they will not be bullied into accepting a contract that fails to protect Seattle workers. When the companies that make up the PMA started sending each worker home two hours into their shift, the ILWU refused to be intimidated. And they will not be intimidated by weekend and holiday lockouts either, because they have learned from years of struggle that when workers stand together in solidarity, we can win.
I call on the PMA to end their bullying tactics and to accept the reasonable demands of the ILWU. There must be no more lockouts, no more intimidation, and no more attempts to hold our economy hostage. If our longshore brothers and sisters are locked out, we will stand in solidarity at their side.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant