Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: longshore union


PORT: TNT should be supporting dockworkers

Re: “West Coast port crisis needs president’s intervention” (editorial, 2-13).

The editorial board lays blame at the feet of West Coast dockworkers, but then claims to be agnostic on who is actually causing the problem. Let’s focus on supporting good jobs in our community, shall we?

At other times, The News Tribune trumpets that trade-related jobs are some of the best-paying in the state. Why? The reason is simple: The longshore workers stand up for themselves in a union, and so should everyone who believes in supporting our local economy.

Dockworkers do a hard and dangerous job that takes a physical

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PORT: Why haven’t legislators gotten involved?

Re: “Holidays, slowdown nearly shut down port” (TNT, 2-12).

The port dispute started Oct. 31. I called Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell Feb. 12 and asked why the slowdown at West Coast ports is allowed to continue and what are the senators currently doing about it?

The response from both offices was that the senator is aware of the problem and thus far has taken no action.

These politicians, our elected representatives, have not addressed an issue that is having devastating negative effects on the very people who elected them.

Eastern Washington farmers I talked to are furious and do not understand why

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PORT: Productivity gains are critical

Re: “The bigger picture must be considered” (letter, 1-7).

Half a century ago, East Coast longshoremen struck to halt containerization. Now most non-bulk cargoes are containerized, and port productivity worldwide has increased tremendously.

Now at West Coast ports, longshore workers mean to halt productivity gains. Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver and Portland need to meet the efficiency challenges of California ports. Any cost reductions per ton of cargo that our ports can make result in improvement of America’s competitive position vis-à-vis exporters of other countries.

Decades ago, the U.S. merchant marine priced itself out of global competition, mostly due to high labor costs

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PORT: The bigger picture must be considered

When two parties sit down to negotiate, it is assumed they will bargain in good faith. Good faith requires compromise. Compromise demands that each come off their original positions.

In the negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, no hard information has been released by either party, so why is it assumed that all the fault lies with the ILWU?

We can speculate that the fully automated terminals in Los Angeles/Long Beach are the problem. I have no inside information, but I understand the long-term impact on the workforce, the communities, and possibly on ports as

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PORT: Unions are only part of the problem

One letter writer has suggested (TNT, 12-20) that Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Rep. Adam Smith intervene with the negotiations between the longshore union and the Pacific Maritime Association. Unfortunately, this will not happen, because the unions are big contributors and supporters of the Democrats. Plus that would only be a short-term solution to a decades-old problem.

Having said that, the unions are only a part of the problem. The main part of the problem is the way ports are formed and the weakness of the elected commissioners.

The current business model becomes quite murky because the problem solvers do

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PORT: Many workers would jump at longshore jobs

Greedy West Coast dock workers are making business as usual a thing of the past.

Thousands of American workers would jump at the chance to replace these poor distraught employees, as their average salaries are around $150,000 and fringe benefits are another $80,000 or so.

Their benefits are approximately three times as much as those of a public school teacher, who has four to six years of college.

If I were in charge and could make decisions regarding this situation, the following steps would be considered:

• The U.S. military construction branches, such as the Navy Seebees, would replace these union members immediately and the

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PORT: Writer implies union-busting is good

Re: “Demand action at the federal level” (letter, 12-20).

The writer demands the feds step in between the longshoremen and the Pacific Maritime Association.

This is not a Washington issue but a West Coast issue. Washington is not in serious danger of losing out to the Gulf or East Coast ports. The logistics aren’t plausible, and our produce industry is not in danger of losing out to anyone.

The firing of air traffic controllers by President Reagan was a union-busting scheme that gave states the go-ahead to break unions, deny a decent living wage, and institute right-to-work laws that keep

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PORT: Selfish slowdown hurtful to many in community

The longshoremen’s slowdown at the Port of Tacoma is hurting people in addition to independent truckers, distant shipping companies and Eastern Washington farmers.

The “ripple through” consequences are hurting people in our community as retailers are unable to fully stock their shelves with seasonal merchandise. It’s not just small shops awaiting incoming inventory for their “make it or break it” months that are affected. Major retailers operating centralized warehouses are unable to keep their receiving docks fully operational because there’s not enough incoming merchandise.

It’s “peak season” for such work to be done; everyone from full-time workers hoping for overtime to temporary

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