Teamsters sign first new port contract in 20 years

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A port trucking company and the Teamsters announced the union’s first new contract with a port carrier in more than two decades.

Chuck Mack, Teamsters port division director, called the move the “initial step to re-establishing the Teamsters in America’s ports.”

The contract covers company drivers, but the Teamsters also are seeking representation of port owner-operators throughout the United States, according to this week’s announcement.

Maritech President Bob Kelly stated the agreement would help the driver shortage faced by his Long Beach, Calif., company.

“The volume of cargo entering U.S. ports is growing by leaps and bounds, while insurance, fuel and truck maintenance have gone up and net truck driver compensation has plummeted,” Kelly said. “Our industry must take decisive steps to stem the growing shortage of truck drivers hauling containers from the ports to rail depots, warehouses and distribution centers. Drivers are leaving faster than the industry can replace them.”

The contract requires Maritech to remain neutral during future Teamster organizing efforts nationwide.

Mack said the contract would provide health and pension benefits and a grievance system. “Maritech has agreed to periodic reviews and wage adjustments as the company prospers,” Mack said.