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A containership at the Port of Long Beach

Photo courtesy Port of Long Beach

ILWU and PMA Give Update on West Coast Port Negotiations

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4639
February 23, 2023

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are providing an update on negotiations for a new contract for West Coast dockworkers.

The update said that the two sides continue to negotiate and that they “remain hopeful of reaching a deal soon.”

Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement covering more than 22,000 dockworkers, represented by the ILWU, and 29 West Coast ports kicked off in May ahead of the previous contract’s expiration on July 1. PMA represents employers at West Coast ports, comprising ocean carriers and terminal operators.

Both have agreed to not discuss negotiations with the media as collective bargaining continues and have rarely provided updates.

“The parties have reached a tentative agreement on certain key issues, including health benefits, and remain committed to resolving remaining issues as expeditiously as possible,” today’s update said. “Talks are continuing on an ongoing basis until an agreement is reached.”

The update added:

“Negotiations are not open to the media or the public, and news articles purporting to know what is happening at the bargaining table are speculative at best. During negotiations, West Coast ports have continued to operate.”

Needless to say, the negotiations are of national interest as failure to reach a deal has huge implications for supply chains, jobs, and local and national economies. Already, the ongoing negations have contributed to import volumes shifting to East and Gulf Coast ports over fears of disruptions to port operations.

The previous contract took effect in 2014 following prolonged negotiations that resulted in worker slowdowns and terminal congestion, requiring intervention from the Obama Administration.

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