OAKLAND, California (AP) – America’s West Coast seaports are back at full operation, except in Oakland, California, which saw another work disruption Sunday that was quickly determined to be illegal by an area arbitrator, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association said.
An arbitrator found that long-shoremen at the Port of Oakland took part in illegal work stoppages that included taking breaks at the same time, among other actions reducing productivity Sunday, spokesman Steve Getzug said.
Employers then dismissed them for the day and notified an arbitrator, Getzug said.
“The Port of Oakland is bitterly disappointed,” port spokesman Mike Zampa said. “Cargo movements have slowed for months because of the labour-management impasse. Our customers have suffered significant reversals because of it. And now they’re being asked to take another hit. It’s just not right.”
Melvin Mackay, a spokesman for the local union branch that covers Oakland, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Employers have ordered labor for the night shift, which begins at 7 pm, Getzug said.
The Port of Oakland handled about 10 percent of cargo at West Coast docks in 2013, according to the association’s most recent data.
Meanwhile, work at the other 28 West Coast ports was mostly back to normal, with additional orders for labour especially at the larger ports to make up for a backlog caused by a monthlong contract dispute.
A tentative deal was struck late Friday. By Saturday night, workers in Oakland and the other ports from San Diego to Seattle were starting to clear the backlog.
West Coast seaports handle roughly one-quarter of US international trade, an amount worth about $1 trillion annually.
Dockworkers in Los Angeles worked an overnight shift for the first time in weeks Saturday night, port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.
It will take several months for ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach – the nation’s largest – to clear the backlog, which swelled as the two sides quarreled over a new deal.
“There’s a lot of work to do and a limited labour pool. But it’s being distributed between the two ports and the cargo containers between both LA and Long Beach as equitably as possible,” Sanfield said.