Agreement reached at Port of Oakland

December 30, 2008 6:56:07 PM PST
East Bay labor leaders reached an agreement on who gets to unload a ship carrying steel for the new Bay Bridge. It is a job workers from two different unions want.

They settled with just taking the ship away from the disputed jurisdiction and disputed territory. For now the new Bay Bridge project is back on track, back on its timeline and all parties are happy with the compromise for the Long Sherman.

The dispute hinged on whether the ship carrying steel parts for the bridge construction is docked at a commercial pier or a construction site. The Long Sherman had legal rights to the unloading work at commercial piers, but Caltrans is leasing Pier 7 from the Oakland Port, which makes it a construction site.

In the deal struck on Tuesday night, the ILWU will get a piece of work now on tying the ship and then goes into the Bay where two other unions chosen by the contractor unload onto a barge which then goes directly to the bridge where the steel is needed.

"The compromise is that the ship will not be unloaded at the terminal here. Anytime a ship is docked at our terminal that's our work, so they are going to take it and dock it in the Bay and off load it to a barge where it becomes the iron workers and the engineer's work," said Frank Gaskin from ILWU 10.

"And you are satisfied with that?" asked ABC7's Heather Ishimaru.

"Yes. They are not doing our work no more," said Gaskin.

"It has taken two days, and I think on behalf of Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority and the California Transportation Commission, we are all appreciate the fact that everybody, all parties involved were able to work together, collaborating to come up with this resolution," said Caltrans spokesperson Bart Ney.

The ILWU says the deal includes a promise to unload 10 or 11 similar ships at Pier 7 in the future, but Caltrans characterizes it a little bit different by saying they promise to negotiate possibly some work from those ships.

There have been some delays, but Caltrans said it will all be made up. Caltrans also said there were some additional costs, but they didn't have the numbers yet.


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