When workers are experiencing difficulties with an employer, the issue can have far-reaching effects. An employment contract dispute can cause ripples throughout the industry or community in which the conflict is occurring. However, successfully negotiating or litigating these disputes can ensure that workers' rights are protected in the long run.
A recent conference that addressed various issues one state has been experiencing at one point took aim at one particular problem in California. The conference organizers claimed that a dispute with dock workers was to blame for an overall slowdown in its shipping rates and volume. Though the dispute occurred in 2014, it was noted that two ports in the state have not recovered from the lingering effects. Though the conflict focused on the workers in California, since these laborers are unionized, all of the longshoremen participated in the work slowdown.
While the produce industry, which headed the conference, attempted to blame the federal government for its reluctance to insert itself into this dispute for some time, the unions are a private industry association and as such, it is free to form alliances in the best manner that will protect workers' rights. Washington state agriculture producers shared that they are attempting to extend contract time periods for longshoremen in order to prevent future disruptions in shipping. Attendees also referenced a perceived problem in the matter of how crane operators are contracted.
It is unclear what, if any changes, will be made regarding these contracts in the future as the current contracts are set to expire as early as 2019. Just as the dock workers in California demonstrated in 2014, it is the right of any worker to stand up for his or her rights when caught up in the middle of an employment contract dispute. Workers have every right to consult with an attorney who is experienced in fighting for the rights of employees whenever a serious issue presents itself.
Source: dailyrecordnews.com, "Conference: Port slowdown still affecting agriculture in state", Tony Buhr, Mar. 1, 2017