Indian Transport & Logistics

Tentative U.S. West Coast port labour deal reached

PMA, ILWU agree to tentative 6-year contract at all 29 West Coast ports; details not announced

Tentative U.S. West Coast port labour deal reached

Photo Credit: Port of Los Angeles

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The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports.

The deal was reached with assistance from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labour Julie Su, according to a joint statement from PMA and ILWU.

"The parties will not be releasing details of the agreement at this time. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties."

U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement: "As I have always said, collective bargaining works, and I congratulate both parties at the ports for reaching an agreement. I want to thank Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su who used her deep experience and judgement to keep the parties talking, working with them to reach an agreement after a long and sometimes acrimonious negotiation. Above all I congratulate the port workers, who have served heroically through the pandemic and the countless challenges it brought, and will finally get the pay, benefits, and quality of life they deserve.

"Julie Su has proven herself time and time again, both as Deputy Secretary working closely with Secretary Marty Walsh – and now as a leader who helped assure that our supply chains remain strong for America’s businesses, farmers, and working families."

PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Willie Adams, in a joint statement, says: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that recognises the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce in keeping our ports operating. We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports.”

Gene Seroka, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles adds: “The tentative agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association brings the stability and confidence that customers have been seeking. We’re grateful to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, ILWU International President Willie Adams and PMA President James McKenna for their leadership and resolve. We look forward to collaborating with our partners in a renewed effort to bring back cargo and demonstrate why Los Angeles is the first choice for Trans-Pacific trade.”

Workers covered by the agreement are based at some of the busiest seaports including Los Angeles/Long Beach. They have been working without a contract since July 1 and have been seeking a share of pandemic cargo surge profits and retroactive pay, Reuters reported.

"West Coast port market share dipped after some customers shifted cargo to rival East Coast and Gulf Coast ports to avoid potential labour disruptions during the negotiations."

The Port of Los Angeles handled 779,140 TEUs in May, down 19 percent compared to May 2022 but up 60 percent compared to February 2023. During the first five months of 2023, the Port handled 3.3 million TEUs, a 27 percent decline compared to the same period in 2022.

The Port of Long Beach handled 758,225 TEUs in May, down 15 percent from May 2022. The Port has moved 3.1 million TEUs during the first five months of 2023, a 25 percent decrease from the same period in 2022.

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