The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) provide an update on negotiations for a new West Coast dockworker contract.
The update said the two sides are continuing negotiations and “remain hoping to reach an agreement soon.”
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for more than 22,000 dockers, represented by the ILWU, and 29 West Coast ports began in May, before the previous agreement expired on July 1. PMA represents employers in West Coast ports, including shipping lines and terminal operators.
Both have agreed not to discuss negotiations with the media during collective bargaining and have rarely provided updates.
“The parties have reached a preliminary agreement on certain key issues, including health benefits, and remain committed to resolving the remaining issues as quickly as possible,” reads today’s update. “Discussions will continue on an ongoing basis until an agreement is reached.”
The update added:
“The negotiations are not open to the media or the public, and news articles claiming to know what is happening at the negotiating table are speculative at best. West Coast ports have continued to operate during negotiations.”
It goes without saying that the negotiations are of national interest, as failure to reach an agreement will have a huge impact on supply chains, jobs and the local and national economy. The ongoing negotiations have already contributed to import volumes being shifted to ports on the East and Gulf Coasts amid fears of disruption to port operations.
The previous contract went into effect in 2014 after protracted negotiations that slowed workers and congested terminals and required intervention from the Obama administration.