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ILWU says dockworker deal close, slams port shutdown threat

ILWU says dockworker deal close, slams port shutdown threat
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) said it was “extremely close” to an agreement over dockworker pay at US West Coast ports and described at threat by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to close terminals as “reckless”.

“We’ve dropped almost all of our remaining issues to help get this settled – and the few issues that remain can be easily resolved,” said ILWU president Robert McEllrath.

On Wednesday the PMA put a new “all-in” offer on the table in a bid reach a new five-year contract agreement for ILWU members after nine-months of negotiations and over three months of “go slows” by dockworkers. If agreement was not reached, however, PMA president Jim McKenna questioned how much longer dockworkers could continue to be paid to work slowly, raising the spectre of shutdowns of US West Coast ports.

“Closing the ports at this point would be reckless and irresponsible,” said McEllrath. The ILWU urged the Federal Mediator to keep both parties at the talks until the nearly-finished agreement is concluded.