The Los Angeles City Council readied Friday to block a decision by the Board of Harbor Commissioners to increase automated technology at the Port of Los Angeles, a move local union leaders fear will decrease dockworkers’ employment opportunities.
The commissioners on Thursday denied an appeal that would have blocked the port from deploying a fleet of automated tractors.
A veto vote is expected to be heard next Friday.
City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the Harbor area, filed a motion Friday asking the City Council to veto the commissioners vote that allowed remote tractors at APM terminals.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 represents thousands of Los Angeles dockworkers, and its members have been vocally opposed to the tractors at public meetings.
“This issue transcends the ILWU and is relevant to every American,” Buscaino said. “We must have a solid plan not to decimate our workforce as we transition to new technologies.”
Officials with Buscaino’s office said the debate over the use of automated tractors has surfaced in the past three months, as an estimated 500 to 750 “demands” or work opportunities daily could be lost to the automated vehicles.
If the City Council vetoes the harbor commission’s action, it wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the debate, as the action would only nullify the appeal.
Officials with Buscaino’s office said a deal between union leaders and the commissioners could be reached as soon as Wednesday, but if not, there could be as many as 1,000 port workers at the Friday’s meeting demanding the city defend their jobs.
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