LA ILWU Local 63 casuals protest outside union hall in Wilmington, demanding more work, benefits

LA ILWU Local 63 casuals protest outside union hall in Wilmington, demanding more work, benefits
http://www.presstelegram.com/social-affairs/20170908/ilwu-casuals-protes...

A casual worker grabs a sign as she walks the picket line as casual workers strike outside ILWU hall in Wilmington Friday, September 8, 2017. Several hundred casuals strike through out the day. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Daily Breeze/SCNG)
By Rachel Uranga, Long Beach Press Telegram
POSTED: 09/08/17, 6:52 PM PDT | UPDATED: 7 HRS AGO0 COMMENTS

Casual workers walk the picket line as casual workers strike outside ILWU hall in Wilmington Friday, September 8, 2017. Several hundred casuals strike through out the day. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

Dozens of part-time dockworkers who have been waiting for years to land a full-time job protested outside their Wilmington union hall Friday, demanding they be given benefits and more work.

“They are frustrated,” said Paul Trani, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 63, representing marine clerks. “They have been sacrificing their family. Many have two jobs.”

It was unclear how many casuals demonstrated. Unconfirmed reports put the number at 300 Friday morning, with another gathering slated for Friday afternoon.

Officials from three ILWU locals — Locals 63, 13 and 94 — issued a joint statement Friday saying that they did not condone the action.

“As always, Locals 13, 63 and 94 are committed to fill all labor needed for the movement of cargo in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the brief statement said. More than 5,000 casuals pick up intermittent work along the docks at a dispatch center in Wilmington. The workers have been preselected in a random lottery, and once they build up enough seniority, they can qualify to pick up full-time work. But those rolls are rarely opened, and many part-timers have been waiting for more than a decade to land a gig.

One woman, who did not want to give her name, said she is a 35-year-old mother who has worked on the docks for 14 years and deserves to have job security and benefits.

Earlier this year, the Pacific Maritime Association, representing shippers and terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, along with the ILWU, held a random lottery for more part-timers, effectively expanding the list and making the wait times longer for those at the very bottom.

ILWU Local 13 asked the PMA to hire 600 casuals on a full-time basis, and ILWU Local 63 asked that 100 positions be filled in its union.

“We don’t have enough clerks to fill these jobs. We want more clerks,” Trani said. “Every day there’s at least a couple hundred jobs that go unfilled by (full-time) marine clerks.”

The PMA declined to comment.

About 46 percent of those casuals trained and approved to work make themselves available during any given week last year, according to the PMA statistics. And those casuals worked on average 1.6 eight-hour shifts per week.