The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners held a nearly four-hour public hearing last week on a proposed plan by APM Terminals to automate some aspects of the cargo handling process. Prior to the meeting, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a letter asking the board to take 28 days to consider both sides of the argument.
Dozens of people spoke against the planned automation at the meeting, saying they are worried about the potential impact automation could have on their jobs. "This proposal is not about clean air and streamlining business practice, it’s about Maersk maximizing their profits at all cost necessary," said Mark Mendoza, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 13. APM Terminals is a Maersk company.
Council for APM Terminals, Peter Jabbour, said there is no legal reason for the board to grant an appeal filed by the union against the project last year. The board should just consider the environmental impact, Jabbour said. "Objections to automation, generally, are not part of the coastal development process," he said. "The port and the larger community should embrace this without the fear of change."
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