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ILWU and port operators reach ‘tentative agreement’ on some ‘key issues’

Port of LA Port_of_LA_stacked-containers.jpg
Reports from the US West Coast suggested that “tentative agreements” had been reached on “certain key issues” between the labour interests and the terminal operators.

The announcement, from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) contained little in the way of specifics, and comes at a time of continued reports of labor actions at the big ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LB) centered around continued demands for “automation” at the terminals.  

While not gaining the same levels of attention as the 2021 – 2022 supply chain issues, the mainstream media is keeping a weather eye on developments at the California ports. The very conservative political commentators at The National Review (widely read in Washington, D.C) described the work actions of the “Local 13” (at LA/LB) as “shenanigans”- including pointing to allegedly defective yard equipment which was then taken out of service.

The East Coast ports have held on to cargo gained because of congestion at LA/LB; even though West Coast backups have gone away, cargo interests fearing potential labor disruptions have continued to bring cargo that had shifted, through East Coast ports of Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, and New York.

The ILWU has been negotiating for 11 months with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) on a new contract, with the previous contract having expired on July 1, 2022. The bargaining agreement being negotiated by the ILWU and PMA is a collective one, that would cover 22,000 plus dockworkers at 29 ports along the US West Coast.

Early on in the discussions a few weeks after the expiry of the previous contract, the two sides announced that they had nailed down a deal regarding health benefits for dock workers.  But that was the last official announcement, other than a February 2023 Press Release indicating the negotiations were still ongoing. A report in logistics publication the Loadstar suggested that the “key issues” in the new announcements are really just the same health-related matters.


TAGS: Americas ILWU