ILWU Local 13 has represented a dozen commercial fumigators in the Port of Los Angeles since 1990. These members fumigate the fruit that longshoreman discharge at SSAs berth 55 in San Pedro. Late in 2012 one of the members reported contract violations to the union and the officers began an investigation.
The local identified multiple contractual violations and complaints were filed against the employer. Several meetings were held with the fumigators to discuss the issues and collectively decide on how the union and workers would move forward.
Discussions with the direct employer became stalled in late December and Local 13 began preparing Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) charges against the employer and scheduled a date for arbitration of the complaints. With a deadline looming, the employer discussions on a settlement began in earnest and slow steady progress was made. A final demand was presented to the employer and they were given one week to accept or move forward with arbitration. On the sixth day, the employer agreed with all union demands and on January 23, the workers signed off on the resolution of the complaints.
The employer will pay out ,000 in back wages, vacation and holiday pay. “These brothers came to the union with significant and egregious violations of their collective bargaining agreement; the officers took immediate steps to bring their employer into compliance with the contract,” said Bobby Olvera, Jr Vice President of Local 13. “This resolve is more than just a monetary settlement, it reaffirms the ILWU motto: An Injury to one is an Injury to all.”
“It felt as if we were alone until the officers of Local 13 took up our cause,” said ILWU Local 13 Fumigator Juan Diaz. “We are a small unit but we work very hard and work withvery dangerous chemicals on a daily basis. Our company treated us unfairly and mocked the union. They are not doing either one of those things now. I am very proud to be a member of the ILWU.”