Thursday, August 26, 1999

workers OK 8%
pay hike

The average wage for
dock employees will reach
$106,722 at the end
of the 3-year pact

From staff and wire reports


SAN FRANCISCO -- West Coast longshore workers have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that includes a nearly 8 percent pay hike and provisions designed to avoid strife as ports modernize.

The contract was approved by 82.5 percent of the nearly 10,000 dockworkers eligible to vote on the three-year agreement with the Pacific Management Association, which represents shipping companies and terminal operators in all major ports from Seattle to Long Beach, Calif.

"It shows the membership knew what they wanted and got it," said Jim Spinosa, who headed the International Longshore & Warehouse Union's negotiating team.

The PMA is expected to ratify the contract at its Sept. 2 meeting.

Hawaii's ILWU contract, meanwhile, is still being negotiated with the Hawaii Employers Council. Both the West Coast and Hawaii contracts expired July 1, but the local ILWU traditionally waits until they see terms of the West Coast settlement before negotiating their own contract.

The West Coast voting began Aug. 4 and was tallied yesterday, with the results announced today. It followed a two-day walkout at the Port of Oakland, which virtually closed the facility to its 33 shipping lines in early July.

The Oakland walkout and other West Coast work slowdowns during contract negotiations disrupted shipments to Hawaii last month.

Pay for union members in 1998 averaged $99,000 for dock workers, $117,617 for clerks and $156,251 for foremen.

The agreement includes a 7.8 percent wage increase over the three-year life of the contact, according to union president Brian McWilliams.

The new contract will raise the average salaries at the end of the three-year period to $106,722 for dock workers, $126,791 for clerks and $168,439 for foremen.

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