ILWU Local 13 President Ramon Ponce de Leon’s Cement Dock Shape-up.

The ILWU was founded in 1934 to bring an end to the Employer’s preferential hiring practice known as; the shape-up. In 2018 Local 13 started running their own shape-up out of the Office’s of the President and the Labor Relations Committee Representative.

Eric Aldape, has been a dues paying member in good standing of ILWU Local 13 for the last 20+ years and, while he has been deregistered and therefore not eligible to work for PMA companies, he is eligible to work for non-PMA ILWU operations like the Metro Cement dock in the Port of Los Angeles.

Local 13 has a history of referring deregistered members in good standing, and registered members on no-dispatch under their Pacific Coast Longshore Contract Document, to work at non-PMA operations like the Kaiser steel dock and the Metro Cement dock.

On June 10, 2019, Eric wrote to Local 13’s Executive Board about the shape-up related to jobs being referred to a non-PMA cement operation run by Metropolitan Stevedoring.

Eric attended several Local 13 Executive Board meetings where the officers acted like they all knew nothing about the non-PMA cement operation, said they were not sure Local 13 had the jurisdiction, then held the matter over to look into it. The Union refused to responded to Eric’s letters, and continued to refer non-members to the Cement dock.

The NLRB was provided payroll records showing a registered member on no dispatch to PMA Employers working at the non-PMA Cement dock, and a Complaint letter from PMA which was tabled by Metro’s Rob Waterman. Rob Waterman is who negotiated and administered the exclusive hiring hall agreement at the Cement dock.

Eric Aldape and others informed an NLRB Agent that non-member superintendents; were referred to work at the non-PMA cement dock, and that Labor Relations Committee Representative, Mike Dimon, referred a deregistered non-member B-man to start working at the Cement dock on October 1, 2019.

Region 21 was provided with the names of all the workers referred to the Cement dock. The first 2 referred by Mark Mendoza both described their referrals in detail including the names and background on every person referred by Local 13, and both made it clear that the only way to get the job is to be referred by Local 13.

Eric also informed the NLRB Agent that for the last 3 weeks of September only 1 Local 13 member had been working at the Metro non-PMA Cement dock, which means there was at least 1 job open while Local 13 was stalling Eric’s request to go to work.

Local 13 has referred; deregistered members in good standing, registered members on no-dispatch to PMA, non-member superintendents who lost their jobs, and a deregistered non-member B-man, to the non-PMA Metro Cement dock with no lists or documented referral procedure. That is a shape-up.

Eric pays dues, is a ILWU member in good standing, and has rights. He has the right to vote and he has the right to be referred ahead of non-members. He has the right go to work at non-PMA jobs that are referred under an ILWU exclusive hiring hall agreement.

According to Side Letter 3 dated March 16, 2018; Local 13 agreed to continue operating under the Agreement Between Pacific Warehouse Company and ILWU, Local No. 13 executed on April 7, 1998, including supplementary Side Letters No. 1 and No. 2.

Region 21 investigated the charge, and found Local 13 has a valid exclusive hiring hall Agreement covering referral of members of Local 13 to the Metro Cement dock.

Region 21 found that Local 13 did refer the first worker employed under the exclusive hiring hall agreement; without the required hiring hall list, and without any objective criteria for referral.

The Board has consistently held that;

“when an employer vacillates in offering a rational and consistent account of its actions, an inference may be drawn that the real reason for the conduct is not among those asserted.” Aluminum Technical Extrusions, 274 NLRB 1414, 1418 (1985).

The same holds true for Labor Organizations.

Local 13’s Officers have been lying to Eric since the June 2019 Executive Board Meeting, when they denied they were referring workers for the cement jobs and told Eric they didn’t think they had jurisdiction.

Local 13 lied to Region 21 saying did not refer any of the workers, and claiming they had never implemented the agreement. They then told the Agent investigating they had a letter eliminating the exclusive hiring hall agreement, but never produced the letter.

On May 15th after being told that Local 13 had provided a copy of the letter allegedly amending the exclusive hiring hall agreement Eric faxed a memo to Local 13 Secretary/Treasurer Mark Williams requesting a copy. He has received no response.

Local 13 refused to provide any workers with the letter alleged to have amended the exclusive hiring hall agreement. They refused to provide it to Eric, they refused to provide it to the Executive Board at both meetings where they discussed the proposed settlement, and they failed to provide it to the workers.

At the first Executive Board Meeting that Eric attended, President Ray Familathe was asked if he told the NLRB that the Local was giving up the exclusive hiring hall agreement at the Cement dock, and he said no he was not going to make any changes.

By refusing to provide the Eric and the rest of the workers with the information he requested which is relevant and necessary to the Union’s performance of its duties as collective-bargaining representative Local 13 has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of the Act.

The Region found that the first employee was referred to the Cement dock job, by the Union, under a valid exclusive hiring hall agreement, and that the Union failed to maintain a list of qualified persons, based on objective criteria, mandated to be referred in the order which they signed the list.

ILWU Local 13 is under the impression that being de-registered automatically takes away Union membership. Not so, and Eric provided his stamped dues book which states he is a member of Local 13.

Local 13’s refusal to refer member Eric Aldape is directly driven by animus they have against him, which was demonstrated at the May 21, 2020, Executive Board meeting when Mondo Porras made a motion to have Eric read out of the Union.

Secretary/Treasurer, Mark Williams informed Mondo that was not possible to read Eric out of the Union because Eric is a dues paying member in good standing. Mondo then said he did not understand why Eric would continue to pay his dues.

According to the NLRB webpage titled Hiring Halls;

“Unions that operate hiring halls must notify workers how the referral system works (and of any changes in that system) and maintain non-discriminatory standards and procedures in making job referrals from the hiring hall.”

Because Eric applied for and was denied referral to the Cement dock operation, back pay is in order. But for the Union’s unlawful discriminatory referral system Eric would have been employed at the Cement dock.

The Board held in the May 19, 2020, Decision and Order in Sheffield Barbers, LLC and Nellis Barbers Association and Un Chong Thrower. Cases 28‒CA‒199308, 28‒CA‒210447, and 28‒CA‒209734;

“Having concluded that the Respondent is for the unlawful discharge of employee Un Chong Thrower, the Respondent must offer her immediate reinstatement to her former job, or if that job no longer exists, to a substantially equivalent position, without prejudice to her seniority or any other rights and privileges previously enjoyed. I also order that Respondent make Un Chong Thrower whole, with interest, for any loss of earnings and other benefits that she may have suffered as a result of the discrimination against her. Backpay shall be computed in accordance with F. W. Woolworth Co., 90 NLRB 289 (1950), with at the rate prescribed in New Horizons, 283 NLRB 1173 (1987), compounded daily as prescribed in Kentucky River Medical Center, 356 NLRB 6 (2010).”

Region 21, having found that Local 13 has engaged in certain unfair labor practices, should have ordered it to cease and desist therefrom and to take certain affirmative actions designed to effectuate the policies of the Act.

Local 13 violated the Act by failing to run a proper exclusive hiring hall and should be ordered to re-dispatch all 3 jobs and to make Eric Aldape whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits suffered as a result of the discrimination against him. Re-dispatching jobs dispatched in error is common practice.

Eric did not waive back pay as claimed by Local 13, in fact according to Andrea Cook, the attorney that drafted the document provided to the Region by Local 13, this case is specifically exempted from the waiver.

Local 13’s Officers have been running a shape-up under the guise of a dispatch hall, out of the Local President’s office, referring non-members while refusing to offer the jobs to dues paying members in good standing, like Eric Aldape.

Every employee working at the Cement dock, that was referred under the unlawful practice of the Union, needs to be called back to the dispatch hall and referred under a lawful system which includes; a list of those eligible for referral based on objective criteria, and a documented referral system which is made available to all workers.

Region 21 found that Local 13 referred the first worker under an exclusive hiring hall agreement without a hiring hall list, where the Union kept no records, and without any objective criteria for referrals.

Region 21 said the employer was contacted but refused to provide any information on how the other employees we identified were hired, and it was up to us to show they were referred by Local 13. The fact that the Employer did not claim to have hired them without calling the Union, proves they did call the Union.

According to the Judge’s Decision in APEX LINEN SERVICE, INC. vs INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS, LOCAL 501, AFL-CIO Cases 28-CA-216351 28-CA-218085 28-CA-222251 28-CA-225805 28-CA-226407 28-CA-226917 28-CA-226924 28-CA-226939 28-CA-227970 28-CA-227973 28-CA-233003:

“Accordingly, having presented a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden of persuasion shifts to Respondent to show that it would have taken the same actions even in the absence of employee protected activity. Apex has not met its burden.”

We presented a prima facie case, based on the Region finding merit to our charge, accordingly the burden should shift to the Union to show the rest of the workers we identified were not referred in further violation of the ACT.

Do you really believe that an Employer is going to sign an exclusive hiring hall agreement with the Longshoremen’s Union, then just blow it off and hire off the street?

Local 13 is running an illegal shape-up and trying to lie their way out of being held accountable for their unlawful exclusive hiring hall violations.

Ramon thinks he can lie to the NLRB, lie to his membership, and continue to get away with running the Cement dock shape-up out of the Union offices.

Ask Ramon, or any Executive Board member, what is happening with the NLRB and the exclusive hiring hall agreement with the Metro Cement dock.

This is a case book example of: An injury to one is an injury to all.

Ramon Ponce de Leon is a disgrace to the ILWU, Local 13, and Unionism in general.

Tell him, and the Executive Board, to knock it off and put Eric to work.