Bulletin #01-15

Bulletin #01-15


January 6, 2015



THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2015 @ 7:00 P.M.


The Local 13 Annual Budget Fiscal Year Ending December 2015 will be presented.  Please bring your copy that was mailed to you.  




As you have probably already heard, a federal mediator will participate in our contract negotiations with the PMA.  Here are some questions/answers that you might have about what this means for our union.


What is the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service?

The FMCS is an independent federal agency that provides mediators to assist with contract negotiations if the parties request.  


What is the agency’s role in mediating labor disputes?

The FMCS is a neutral third party that helps negotiators narrow their differences and find common ground. FMCS mediators can suggest alternative solutions, but ultimately it’s up to the negotiating parties to reach agreement.


When does the FMCS become involved in labor negotiations?

The FMCS is in touch with both parties before negotiations begin. Federal law requires unions and employers to provide at least 30 days’ notice of intent to open a collective bargaining agreement. The FMCS then assigns a field monitor to follow developments and to become actively involved when requested by the union and employers. The agency encourages informal contact between negotiations, and keeps abreast of developments long before bargaining begins on major agreements such as longshore contracts.


Why is the FMCS involved in our contract negotiations?

The ILWU and the PMA have voluntarily asked the FMCS to assist with the contract negotiations.   


Can a federal mediator impose a contract settlement?

No, federal mediators serve as neutral third-party facilitators. Mediation is a voluntary process that may or may not lead to an agreement. It is different from arbitration, in which the parties agree to allow a third party to impose a binding agreement on them.


How does the mediator help the two sides reach agreement?

Each negotiation is unique. However, mediators typically listen carefully, help the parties take a fresh look at the issues, keep the discussions focused and on track. Mediators are trained to clarify and crystallize issues and differences, and encourage negotiators to focus on interests rather than negotiating positions.

As an objective third party, a mediator can identify alternative solutions, encourage settlement where appropriate, control the critical timing of offers, and persuade the parties to honestly discuss their differences and communicate more productively. Mediators schedule face-to-face meetings between negotiators when they think it will move the process along, and often engage in “shuttle diplomacy,” carrying offers and counteroffers between the two sides.


How often does the FMCS become involved in longshore labor negotiations?

The FMCS provided mediation during the ILWU-PMA contract negotiations in 2002, which were punctuated by an employer lockout of workers, and a Taft-Hartley Act injunction that triggered an 80-day cooling-off period.


Does this mean that we are under an injunction, like in 2002?

No.  Unlike an injunction, mediation is voluntary.  It does not force us to do anything, and simply allows us to continue negotiating for a new contract.


Is this bad news?

This is not bad news.  We are still negotiating for a contract and we are optimistic that the mediator will help us make progress towards a contract.


Monday, January 5, 2015 Contact: John Arnold, Director

For Immediate Release Office of Public Affairs


FMCS Statement on Labor Negotiations

Between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)

And the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA)


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allison Beck, Acting Director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, issued the following statement today on the labor negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA):


“In response to a joint request for assistance from the parties, collective bargaining between ILWU and PMA representatives will continue as soon as possible under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). We are prepared and ready to render prompt assistance. Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, a senior FMCS mediator with extensive collective bargaining experience in this industry, has been assigned to help the parties bring these important negotiations to a mutually acceptable resolution.”


As is Agency practice, the FMCS is not releasing information regarding future meeting dates and locations. In addition, the FMCS will have no further comment at this time regarding the status or substance of the negotiations.



Bobby Olvera, Jr. Mondo Porras Mark Williams

President Vice President Secretary/Treasurer


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