Statement by PMA President and CEO Joseph Miniace on October 8, 2002

Statement by PMA President and CEO Joe Miniace
October 8, 2002

The President made a tough decision today.

I believe he acted in the best interests of the country, the economy and our national security.

We regret that it came to this, and did everything we could at the bargaining table to avoid it.

The Union wasn’t willing to go along.

We appealed to the union to put the national interest first….to not wreak havoc at the ports as a negotiating ploy…but rather to keep the ports operating smoothly and normally while we negotiated a new contract.

And the ILWU simply would not cooperate.

Union sanctioned work slowdowns plagued the entire coast, creating gridlock at the ports.

That’s what caused the port closure in the first place.

The Union has now publicly acknowledged that it staged work slowdowns, and despite our repeated appeals to leave the ports alone while the negotiations continued, they were unwilling to go along.

That was clear when we re-opened after a 36-hour “cooling off” period.  That day, the 29th of September, the Union slowed us down by almost 60%. 

It is those actions by the Union that bring us to where we are today.

On Sunday, PMA offered a 90-day contract extension for the Union’s consideration.  They rejected it.

We also put a new comprehensive proposal on the table that included a $1 billion increase to the pension.  And they walked out.

Today, there was a flurry of activity to try to avoid a Taft-Hartley injunction. 

This included a proposal for a 30-day contract extension. 

That is nothing but a band-aid on a serious wound.

The Union is still threatening work slowdowns.

Let me read you ILWU President Jim Spinosa’s quotes on this matter:

“We’re going to continue to work safe.  Yeah, I guess it is a slow-up.  That’s the way we’re going to work.”

If that doesn’t make the case for increased accountability and oversight, I don’t know what does.  We’ve already experienced what happens without it.

Taft-Hartley also insures the involvement of the mediator on all issues.  Neither the PMA nor the ILWU have the option during the period to refuse mediation.

The Union had every chance to avoid this, but they said no to a 90-day extension.

By taking this action today, the President has clearly put the national interest first.

It’s time to get these ports up and running so America can get back to work.

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