Pasha Hawaii charged in labor dispute
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, December 5, 2017
The Marine Log published the news article, “NLRB issues complaint against Pasha Hawaii,” December 5, 2017, regarding a dispute involving the two newbuild containerships to be constructed at Keppel AmFELS shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, for operation in the interstate Hawaii market by Pasha Hawaii Transport Line LLC (Pasha).
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Case No. 20-CA-202809 was brought by the union, the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (IOMMP), on July 19, 2017 in Region 20, San Francisco, California, against The Pasha Group and Sunrise Operations d/b/a Pasha Hawaii Holdings LLC and Crowley Maritime Corporation as joint employers.
The IOMMP is known as the Charging Party and Pasha as the Charged Party and Respondent in the instant proceedings. The IOMMP is affiliated with the International Longshore Association (ILA) and the AFL-CIO. Crowley Maritime Corporation provides technical ship management services for Pasha including provision of mariners working on board the Pasha ships. The NLRB is an independent U.S. government agency with responsibilities for enforcing US labor law in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
Ms. Jill H. Coffman, Regional Director, NLRB, Region 20, issued on October 31, 2017, a Complaint and Notice of Hearing, requiring the respondent Pasha to respond in writing by November 14, 2017, and set the hearing date for January 30, 2018 before an administrative law judge in San Francisco.
The Charging Party (IOMMP)’s complaint was brought in the context of its existing collective-bargaining agreement (union contract), which Pasha succeed to with its May 29, 2015 acquisition of Horizon Lines Inc. and was renegotiated in a successive agreement in force for the period October 15, 2015 through June 15, 2027.
As the IOMMP asserted in its complaint and the NLRB Regional Director stated in her notice, “Since about July 11, 2017, the Union has requested, both orally and in writing, that Respondent furnish the Union with the following information: All vessel blueprints and other information required under Article V, Section 4(j) of the collective-bargaining agreement between the Charging Party and Horizon Lines dated June 16, 1981 through June 15, 1984, pertaining to Respondent's announcement that it intends to build new dry cargo vessels to operate in the Hawaii trade.”
The regional director found, “The information requested by the Union, as described above in subparagraph 8(a), is necessary for, and relevant to, the Union's performance of its duties as the exclusive collective-bargaining representative of the Unit.”
It would seem from a plain reading of the NLRB notice that referencing a clause from an agreement dating back to 1984 and was made with Sea-Land Service Inc. (vice Horizon Lines Inc. which was not created until 2005) is a weak position for the union to bring a complaint and the NLRB to schedule a hearing. It may also lead to speculation that Pasha and the shipbuilder Keppel have not yet completed their ship design.
Key excerpts from Marine Log:
According to the union, the National Labor Relations Act and the union's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with Pasha require Pasha to bargain in good faith with MM&P and to provide documents for MM&P to review and study before vessel construction begins so the union can confirm that the vessels comply with the living standards set forth in the CBA.
According to the union, the investigation by NLRB Region 20 determined that MM&P requested information that "is necessary for, and relevant to, the union's performance of its duties."
The union says that the NLRB complaint alleges that Pasha, both orally and in writing, has failed and refused to furnish the Union with the information requested.
The NLRB is seeking an order to compel Pasha to turn over the documents and to bargain in good faith with MM&P.
"We are pleased with the NLRB's decision to prosecute Pasha," said MM&P President Captain Donald Marcus. "We will not hesitate to take any and all legal action necessary to vindicate the hard-fought contractual rights of MM&P members."
"Employers who refuse to honor contractual obligations and federally protected rights must be held accountable," said MM&P Vice President-Pacific Ports J. Lars Turner. "The NLRB's decision is critical to ending Pasha's refusal to bargain in good faith. We look forward to returning to the negotiating table in December to discuss proposals reflecting the tremendous skill and professionalism MM&P Licensed Deck Officers bring to the Pasha vessels."