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ILWU Announces Tentative Agreement on ‘Key Issues’ in Ongoing Negotiations; PMA Says ‘Several’ Issues Still Unresolved

Angel DiBilio / Shutterstock.com

ILWU Announces Tentative Agreement on ‘Key Issues’ in Ongoing Negotiations; PMA Says ‘Several’ Issues Still Unresolved

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 6632
April 20, 2023

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on Thursday morning announced a tentative agreement with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) on certain key issues in their ongoing negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for West Coast ports.

However, the PMA responded Thursday afternoon that “several key issues remain unresolved.”

The two sides are continuing talks until a final agreement is reached.

This follows previous announcements by the ILWU and PMA that they had reached a tentative agreement on terms for maintenance of health benefits in July 2022, and a joint press release back in February stating that negotiations were ongoing and that both parties were hopeful of reaching a deal soon. The tentative agreements’ terms have not been disclosed.

The collective bargaining agreement being negotiated covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports. Talks began on May 10, 2022, after the previous agreement expired on July 1, 2022. The ILWU and PMA meet regularly in San Francisco to continue negotiating the collective bargaining agreement and have remained committed to reaching an agreement.

The announcement of a tentative agreement comes after tensions escalated recently between the two sides. PMA accused the ILWU of “illegal work actions” in Southern California that forced crucial cargo handling equipment to be taken out of operation at several key terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, disrupting operations.

The ILWU countered the accusations by accusing marine terminals represented by PMA of failing to properly maintain the cargo handling equipment, forcing ILWU members to conduct mandatory inspections and remedy deficiencies during the current lull in cargo volumes.

Earlier this month, PMA blamed the ILWU of withholding labor that caused a halt of operations at San Pedro Bay terminals on two shifts, including one on Good Friday.

“Today’s announcement from the ILWU that key issues have been tentatively agreed upon is welcome news,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “It’s important that the ILWU and PMA remain at the table and complete the negotiations swiftly so that we can bring the stability and confidence that our customers have been seeking. There is no bigger priority now than this contract agreement.”

However, PMA issued a statement Thursday afternoon that key issues remain unresolved.

“Meanwhile, work actions led by ILWU Local 13 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continued to disrupt some operations at key marine terminals. The Union is deliberately conducting inspections that are not routine, unscheduled, and done in a way that disrupt terminal operations,” PMA said.

As negotiations continue, the ILWU and PMA remain committed to reaching a final agreement. The terms of the tentative agreements have not been disclosed, and both parties have agreed not to discuss them until negotiations are complete.

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