Parties involved in the U.S. West Coast port labor talks have announced a tentative agreement on health benefits as negotiations on other issues continue in overtime.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), representing longshore workers, and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Assocation (PMA) issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing the tentative deal on what the statement described as “an important part of the contract.”
The labor contract being negotiated covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports. The previous agreement expired on July 1 and negotiations, which kicked off May 10, are continueing without a contract extension. Both sides have promised to keep cargo moving and maintain normal operations during the negotiations, recognizing the strategic importance of the ports to the economy.
Details regarding the tentative agreement related to maintenance of health benefits (MOB) are not being released. In fact, niether party is releasing any details related to the negotiations with the exception of period joint statements.
Uncertainty surrounding the negotiations have contributed to more vessels shifting calls to U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports, like the ports of New York, Savannah and Houston, where cargo volumes have surged to new records.
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