If you work at the Port of Long Beach, you know the pace of work has been up and down over the past few years. This year it has been down.
In a recent interview, the port’s chief operating officer said freight shipping at the port is currently down 27% from the numbers seen in 2022. Of course, the numbers last year were somewhat unusual because of pent-up demand after the global health emergency and all its attendant economic disruptions and supply chain problems.
According to the executive, the recent downturn is partly related to last year’s protracted labor disputes between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and partly because shipping with China has become unpredictable. For the past 20 years or so, the port has been dependent on shipping with China, but this business has been disrupted due to problems in the Chinese economy, trade disputes with the United States and other matters. However, he said he expects numbers to increase next year.
What does this mean for you?
If you work at the port or in an associated maritime industry, this means you can expect some busier days ahead. Perhaps this will mean a little overtime and some more dollars in your bank account.
Unfortunately, it can also mean an increased risk for injury on the job.
Most workers in California can rely on the state’s workers’ compensation system to provide them benefits if they have been injured on the job, but that isn’t the case for many workers in the port and maritime industries. These workers are generally covered by two other laws: Vessel crewmembers and other maritime workers are covered under the Jones Act, while longshore workers are generally covered under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Each of these acts has its own complex system for helping out workers who have been injured on the job, and both systems are distinct and very different from California’s workers’ compensation system. It’s important for injured workers who need legal help to seek out professionals with experience in their relevant body of law.