So why does this article talk so much about the union blame and so little about the intransigence of the PMA? And what can workers do to get their share of the shipping pie short of work actions? And who is responsible for unraveling inefficiencies inside the port? Workers, or management? The answer is 100% management; that’s what we teach in Operations Management, and have for 25 years! Workers usually have some good ideas to contribute if they are allowed; if they are not recruited to help they have no basis for joining in; procedures, policies, and interactions between supervisors and workers are management’s problem.
I’ve just been reading Cesar Chavez’s biography. I learned that work actions happen when management will not negotiate. And illegal actions happen because of the frustration of workers and management who are blocked by other forces from discussing the issues. It’s an agency issue as economists would say. Direct negotiations cannot happen because of the structures in place. In the case of Chavez’s grapes, it took a boycott of customers to bring growers in line. We are lucky this one was settled more or less within negotiation paradigms of the past.