WSSA shares the report requested by Peter Friedmann and the Agriculture Transport Coalition below:
Message from the Port of Oakland:
We wanted to follow-up with an update to the AgTC membership on the current labor situation at the Port of Oakland. Each AgTC member company is a valued customer of the Port of Oakland, and we appreciate their choosing Oakland as their gateway to the markets they serve. We would like to be as direct and transparent as possible in providing below information. It would be much appreciated if you could share this with your membership.
This morning we had five vessels at anchor and another five “holding station” outside the Golden Gate Bridge in the Pacific. Late last week, the Coast Guard restricted anchorage and each terminal now receives a set number of anchorage slots. This is why there are vessels “holding station” rather than being at anchor. The longest-waiting vessel arrived last Thursday, July 2nd, and the majority of waiting vessels (five) arrived yesterday. Compounding the situation, the Port was closed Sunday and only two terminal gates were open Monday due to the national July 4th and ILWU “Bloody Thursday” (which was observed on July 5th) holidays.
We are working closely with both PMA and ILWU to push for a resolution to the current labor situation. On the one hand the PMA is cutting gang allocations, and on the other hand ILWU Local 10 does not appear to be making enough skilled labor available. There are approximately 1,334 registered longshore and 337 “casual” (ie – non-skilled) workers in the San Francisco Bay Area pool currently – and those workers cover the Port of Oakland, Redwood City, San Francisco and other ports in Northern California. Several of the registered longshoremen are currently not active, so the available pool is about 200 less than those registered.
The PMA and ILWU have recently reached an agreement to hire significant additional labor into the San Francisco Bay Area region. An incremental 400 casual workers will be added and 100 current casual workers will be trained and promoted into skilled longshore positions.
The first 56 casuals were trained last week and available for dispatch as of this past Saturday. There are an additional 350 casuals being identified, screened, trained and hired over the next two months – about 175 each hiring wave. A primary issue has been a shortage of skilled labor – especially tractor drivers. In addition to hiring approx. 400 new casuals, the PMA will promote 100 current casuals and train them as tractor drivers. These folks will be trained in groups of 20 over the next 8 weeks. Overall, it is anticipated that by September all new labor will be in place. This will be phased in over the next two months, and we should see labor availability improvement within this month.
We recognize this does not address the immediate situation quickly enough. It is progress – though much slower than we would like it. We promise to stay in close communication during this time, and of course please reach out to anyone on the team here. We are pushing both the ILWU and the PMA to get this situation fixed as fast as possible.
If you have any questions about the recovery process for the Port of Oakland, please email mail.agtrans.org.