Strike: Congressman-elect Lowenthal Supports ILWU

The growing economic effect of a shutdown of the nation's busiest seaport prompted elected officials to urge renewed labor talks. But the newly elected Long Beach-O.C. rep sides with union.

California state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, who was elected to the 47th Congressional District earlier this month but remains a state legislator through month's end,  released the following statement Thursday on the developing labor action at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles by workers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU):

"I have worked closely with both the ILWU and the port-industry employers over the past 20 years, and I am proud to stand in complete solidarity with the ILWU clerical workers and their supporters in their attempts to prevent good American jobs from being sent overseas.

"The hard-working members of the OCU have repeatedly sat down over the past two years to bargain in good faith and reach a fair and equitable contract, and I believe their ongoing efforts to protect American jobs stands as a strong example for all American workers struggling against the threat of outsourcing.

"I urge a swift return to the negotiating table and an equally swift and fair resolution that will maintain these jobs in America--for American workers--while still allowing the ports to continue as one of the nation's critical economic engines."

The roughly 800 members of the ILWU Local 63 OCU, who handle the majority of paperwork for vessels entering and exiting the LA/LB port complex, have been working without a contract since June 2010.

Dalzwyf November 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
ILWU employees ARE grateful for what they have. But they had to negotiate, strike, and even die to get it. People shouldn't just "be grateful for what we have" while the execs get richer and the workers become poorer. If there is a goose that lays a golden egg, the workers will never see it--the execs will.
Barry O November 30, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Die... give me a break. It is 2012. BLOODY THURSDAY!!! BLOODY THURSDAY!!! That was 1934.... come on now.
Watts November 30, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Yes, that golden egg comment was completely naive as far as the workers go. Not just here, but most of corporate America, nobody on the union level is seeing any golden eggs. I saw all the rhetoric around the Hostess issue and the lower middle class wages were being portrayed as excessive benefits being exploited by the unions. Insane.
Sandy November 30, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Of course the newly elected Democrat Lowenthal supports the ILWU union; he has been elected to LB City Council and the state legislature on union money. It's payback. And now he has hit the big bonaza, Congressional pension and health benefits that far exceed what union and non-union workers can ever receive. Expect strong union support and liberal votes from Lowenthal in Congress.
Watts November 30, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Or instead of this conspiracy theory, did you ever think that maybe he just supports the unions and that is why they also originally supported him?
Sandy November 30, 2012 at 06:39 AM
He will continue to support unions and their money will roll into his re-election coffers. He is very liberal and I am sorry he was elected.
Dick Sperry November 30, 2012 at 07:20 AM
My cousin, who used to run an _adult_ entertainment club in Wilmington, says some of those lazy longshore clerks earn over double the average Goldman Sachs executive. Hell, my uncle says some of them play golf with Bill Gates and the Koch brothers they're so rich. The average ILWU Local 63 clerk, on average, makes slightly more than the average corporate CEO, trail lawyer, surgeon and stock broker. They're loaded!
met00 November 30, 2012 at 08:06 AM
The race to the bottom begins the moment that you say that you should be grateful for the job.
met00 November 30, 2012 at 08:07 AM
He's not liberal enough, but he was to the left of DeLong and those were the only choices.
met00 November 30, 2012 at 08:11 AM
I adore good sarcasm. Yes the clerks are well paid. And $317,731 is not outlandish for Knatz's salary as CEO of the port (using the 5X average salary rule for CEO's). But this fight is not about salary or benefits. It's about ensuring that these jobs are not outsourced overseas. And that is a fight for the Union worth having.
Stan November 30, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Instead of being jealous of what union workers have fought and negotiated for, how about you make an effort to obtain one of those jobs.
Stan November 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
We become a 2-class nation without unions and labor laws. (Wealthy & Poor) there is no such thing as "trickle-down". Employers will pay as little as possible and as few as possible to accomplish their goals. (Making money for themselves) There must be unions and labor laws or we become China!
Greg November 30, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Everyone sounds like a Politician. The Union guys make too much. The fat cats in the suits are taking us down. The fact of the matter is both sides have valid points.The only thing Lowenthal did wrong was open his mouth. If he really wanted to help, he'd set up a meeting with the leaders of both sides to see if they can find a meeting point. This Country is in a downward spiral because everyone has to be right all the time.The fact of the matter is the Companies in the harbor make a lot of money. The other fact is the Longshoremen make a lot of money. I see no crime in either. An aside to Stan. How many casuals are sitting around waiting for their letter to be called and not getting any hours. If you don't have a relative down there, you don't have much chance.
Allyson November 30, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I am a daughter and a sister of a Longshoreman. You ppl sitting there talking about how much money they make should walk a day in the life of a Longshoreman. My brother works night side and has for over 20 yrs. He operates the big cranes that unload the containers off the ship. He puts his life at risk EVERY SINGLE NIGHT to bring ppl their Gucci shoes, fancy handbags, food, etc. Do you know how many ppl have been killed on the job Longshoring? Many of them have been friends of my family. My brother and his fellow longshoremen are paid well because if the danger of the job. Whoever thinks he is paid like the CEO of a major company is out of their mind and completely misinformed. That union which so many ppl have disdain for helped my mother who was widowed at age 42 with 3 children in one of our darkest hours. If we had more unions who are standing strong like the ILWU we would have and keep more American jobs. We have to fight for what is rightfully ours. Stand strong my union brothers and sisters. I support you and am praying for you. Born a union girl and I will die a union woman. Peace.
Shore Resident November 30, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Met, just a question for you. How are we going to outsource jobs overseas that entail loading and unloading ships in the Port of Long Beach?
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Allyson, did your father die in a work accident at the port, or are you simply saying they take care of their own?
Allyson November 30, 2012 at 08:58 PM
No Nancy he did not. I am saying that the union takes care of their own.
Dalzwyf December 01, 2012 at 03:37 AM
You're high AND your cousin is gullible.
Dalzwyf December 01, 2012 at 03:39 AM
You are so right.
Sandy December 01, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Is it true that one of the 600 strikers who are idling 2 large ports which carry 40% of the nations port traffic) are asking for $42-$43 an hour as one of their demands?
John Doe December 02, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Allyson neglected to mention that cranes operators work with partners. One covers the 1st 4 hour half and the other covers the 2nd 4 hr half. In some cases they work deals where one will work one week or one day at a time and the other will do the same the following week or day while both get paid when only one is actually working. There's nothing hard anymore about long shoring, everything is containerized very little break bulk. The ocu clerks on strike make an average of 95k a year for basic office duties that anyone can do for 40k plus benefits. In addition, they get 4 weeks of paid vacation a year, with 12 sick days. No premiums or out of pocket for insurance and even their pets are covered! Give me a break!! It's not uncommon for a longshoreman to make well over 6 figures!!!
Tim December 02, 2012 at 02:40 PM
"When men are full of envy they disparage everything, wheather it to be good or bad."
Stan December 02, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Obviously John Doe doesn't work on the waterfront. The environment is VERY dangerous and although there are some "deals" amongst longshoremen, they are given by the companies and many of them are incentives or performance based. Tim, that was my point earlier in the thread. These shipping companies are multi-billionaires. That fact in never presented in the public. Why do we ONLY focus on the workers? Wages are less than 5% of the companies profits., and the LA/LB port makes up 7% of the entire US economy.
Stan December 02, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Yes I said wages are less that 5% of the companies PROFITS. Maybe the jealousy and envy should be directed to the mainly Chinese shipping companies. Why don't we know the wages of their execs and management?
Stan December 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Sandy, no it's not true. This is not about wages it's about keeping the jobs from being sent overseas. How many jobs are now in the hands of foreign workers? Have you ever called customer service for a large company and its obvious you're not speaking to an American?
Stan December 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM
And one last thing... I'm not a longshoremen, I'm a machinist in support of their strike.
Sandy December 03, 2012 at 05:31 AM
As we bicker over union workers, the strike and their demands, let's remember the thousands of workers idled by their strike; the waiting ships that can be seen inside the L B breakwater and anchored off Seal Beach; the ships sent to other ports and the large and small businesses who are waiting for delivery of December goods. It is a classic ehtical question. Is it selfish for these few hundred workers to cost thousands of other workers their livlihood?
John Doe December 04, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Stan, most of the people making the waterfront unsafe are the longshoremen themselves and in second place the over the road truckers. Most of the health and safety incidents are due to longshore negligence. Them running stop signs, not wearing safety belts, not wearing appropriate clothing, and not wearing their hard hats when they need to. Trust me I have a very good idea on the docks in la/lb work.
unknownauthor December 04, 2012 at 08:54 AM
Our labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours, and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they brought justice and democracy to the shop floor. John F. Kennedy
JC December 05, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Beware of false knowledge, its more dangerous than Ignorance.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »