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Shipping Firms Sue To Halt Dock Strikes

From the Associated Press newswire, reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle - September 13 1998

AP Los Angeles Shipping companies sued to halt what they contend are dozens of illegal union strikes and walkouts that have cost the industry more than $150 million by idling docks up and down the West Coast.

The Pacific Maritime Association sued the dockworkers' union last week in federal court in Los Angeles, asking for a permanent injunction to force the union to adhere to a no-strike clause in the contract that took effect in July 1996.

"Illegal slowdowns, gimmicks and games have become daily fare" for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the suit contends.

"As a result, productivity is poor at best, and millions of dollars are lost each week by the ILWU's contemptuous behavior," according to the lawsuit.

The association represents about 110 member shipping lines, stevedore companies and terminal operators.

It contends that, since its contract with the union took effect, there have been at least 135 job actions that arbitrators have ruled were illegal.