Changing Approaches to Palletization Led to Union Disputes

When it comes to wars of words about pallets these days, we are used to reading about flare-ups between iGPS and the NWPCA, but back in the 1960s, changing logistics practices sparked turf battles between different stakeholders such as the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union and the Teamsters.

In 1961, practices at port facilities were changing as manual labor jobs were being lost to automation. The Mechanization and Modernization Agreement marked a significant effort by the ILWU to protect its members in the face of inevitable change.

As is pointed out in a 1961 article, this trend led to job action by the unions, who  looking for compensation in lieu of lost jobs. One particular switch in practice saw longshoremen loading product on longshore pallets directly onto trucks, which caused a labor disruption from Teamsters, whose practice had been to repalletize all goods from longshore pallets onto freight pallets before being placed onto a truck.

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