A newly completed wharf improvement project to enable a terminal to welcome newer, larger, and cleaner ships and a recently approved pact to ensure an ample supply of skilled workers for future construction projects were both celebrated in a combined event Thursday at the Port of Long Beach.
The Pier G Wharf Improvements Project adds 246 feet of the new wharf at Pier G that will allow terminal operator International Transportation Service to accommodate container ships capable of carrying up to 16,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo. The $55 million project, funded by the Port, also adds backland area and mooring infrastructure at Pier G.
The wharf extension was completed under a port-wide project labor agreement between the Port and the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. Recently, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a new 10-year port-wide project labor agreement. PLAs are used to ensure major infrastructure projects at the Port will be completed without any work stoppages, strikes, or lockouts. Under a PLA, workers – unionized or not – receive prevailing wages. The pacts require 40% of the work to be performed by local residents and provisions are made to offer training and apprenticeship opportunities.
“Here in Long Beach, we have some of the best-skilled workers. They’re working nonstop to get things done on time. With this new project labor agreement, it means countless great-paying jobs will stay right here in Long Beach,” said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson. “The PLA will also build on the Port’s workforce development initiatives, by reaching out to educational institutions and union training programs. Those programs will not only offer training but placement for construction jobs – including veterans, women, and communities of color.”
“Project labor agreements allow us to invest in a reliable and well-trained pool of skilled workers while ensuring capital improvement projects are completed on time, safely, and within budget,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Building modern facilities without disruption strengthens our competitiveness and secures our position as a leader in trans-Pacific trade.”
“This 10-year agreement demonstrates our commitment to provide quality jobs with fair pay and good working conditions,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon L. Weissman. “We look forward to investing in new opportunities for our local construction workforce.”
“The Berth B236 extension is an interesting project. It amounts to less than a 1% area increase to our terminal, but it has boosted berth capabilities from being able to serve 11,000-TEU vessels to 16,000-TEU vessels, something that will complement the five ship-to-shore cranes that ITS has already ordered for the berth and will be delivered later in 2023,” said Kim Holtermand, Chief Executive Officer, International Transportation Service, LLC. “This means we can move the same amount of cargo across the quay with fewer ship calls. It represents a dramatic increase in efficiency.”
“We came up with a project labor agreement that not only works for today but works for the next 10 years, that not only works to help deliver the quality infrastructure and efficiency and sustainability that the Port demands but the inclusion of the Long Beach community and the greater area,” said Chris Hannan, Executive Secretary for the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in January approved a new project labor agreement covering construction projects valued at $5 million or more, aimed at ensuring the timely delivery of well-built marine terminals, rail improvements, roadways, and other infrastructure at the Port. The pact lays out the process for swiftly resolving any differences arising between contractors and workers in addition to potential jurisdictional disputes between labor unions.
The agreement also sets hiring goals with a focus on skilled laborers and apprentices in addition to veterans, single parents, and other transitional workers. Contractors and subcontractors do not have to be union shops, but the pact requires them to pay prevailing wages and offer union benefits.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a gateway for trans-Pacific trade, and a trailblazer in goods movement and environmental stewardship. The Port handles trade valued at more than $200 billion annually and supports 2.6 million trade-related jobs across the nation, including 575,000 in Southern California.