My name is Jim Tessier and I am a longshore labor relations consultant.
My first exposure to the waterfront and longshore labor relations was in 1978. From 1978 to 1980, I worked on the Weyerhaeuser log dock in the Port of Tacoma. I worked with Supercargo’s and Foremen and I learned first hand how longshoremen work.
In 1980 I moved to San Francisco to earn my MBA, and in 1981 I was hired by PMA as a Labor Relations Assistant in San Francisco where I was able to participate in the Pacific Coast Longshore Contract Document negotiations and the Pacific Coast Walking Bosses & Foremen’s Agreement negotiations.
Several years later I ended up back in Tacoma, as PMA’s Assistant Area Manager, where I was responsible for administration of ILWU/PMA labor agreements covering 11 ILWU Locals in the Pacific Northwest. I was Chairman of the Seattle, Tacoma, and Clerk Labor Relations Committees and was involved in all other Labor Relations Committees in the Washington Area.
I have been standing up to longshore union officials for years. For example, in about 1988 while I was working at PMA a young woman whose stepfather was an A-man who had recently died of a heart attack called me, because when she asked Local 23 officials about the permissive rule, as she wanted to take his book, they told her the rule only applied to the sons of longshoremen.
I told her that the rule also applied to daughters and had her send her paperwork to me, and she was registered within the month.
Years later, after I left PMA, she called me and asked for some help with an equal pay claim. She was working as a steady clerk and the men she was working with, doing the exact same work, were getting 1 hour more each day.
With my help, she filed a discrimination claim for back pay, which was denied by the JPLRC, but eventually she was able to use the record that we created to get her back pay.
Around the same time a longtime A-man friend called, a friend I met when I was working on the dock at Weyerhaeuser, and asked me to help him and a few of his friends because they were being denied transfers to clerk and foreman registration.
With my help, he filed a discrimination claim that went all the way to the Coast Arbitrator, Sam Kagel. The claim was denied, but he and his friends used the records we created to get their transfers to Clerk and Foreman.
Most of my work for the past 26 years has involved grievances related to health and safety or claims involving discrimination, and in every case the longshoremen called me for help after their union officials refused to help.
After I left PMA, I represented individuals at dozens of discrimination hearings under the ILWU/PMA grievance procedure, until they changed the procedure to exclude my participation.
Around 1998, a friend of mine who was Local 19 President called me for some help with a jurisdictional claim related to containers being lined, on the dock, by non-longshore carpenters. I helped him win his first jurisdictional claim.
Later, while he was working as a lineman, he called again and asked for help with a health and safety issue regarding covering the open trenches used to house the crane’s electrical cables. I helped him win the health and safety arbitration and then I helped him win the jurisdictional claim related to placing and removing the covers ordered by the Arbitrator.
In 2007, while representing a couple of B-men, I filed a complaint that resulted in the NLRB signing a settlement agreement with the ILWU involving coastwise unlawful overcharging of nonmember class B registered longshoremen.
As a result, 4.900 B registered longshoremen, in Washington, Oregon, and California had their pro rata reduced, and over 90% collected their share of a 1.97 million dollar refund. Local 13 now has a new procedure for charging nonmember B-men.
I have filed a number of NLRB charges over the years, as a labor consultant.
In every case, the longshoremen I helped, called me for help, after their union officials refused to help them.
Seems like the NLRB is ok when the union goes to them. The union has put out bulletins telling the members how they used the NLRB to get information from the PMA, but members who call the NLRB are accused of suing the union.
In response to the question of where I find so much time to file charges against Local 13: My 21-year-old son is severely disabled and requires 24/7, line-of-sight care, which is my privilege to provide. As a result, I have a lot of time on my hands to help my friends.
I am not going to stop helping longshoremen up and down the coast who call me just because Big Baby McEllrath and Rich Austin don’t like it. If you have any further questions feel free contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.