The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have concluded a tentative agreement for a new six-year contract that covers 22,000 workers at all 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast.
The deal announced late Wednesday must be ratified before becoming official. It ends more than a year of uncertainty that had caused some cargo volumes to shift to East and Gulf Coast ports. Details of the agreement have not yet been released.
A joint statement from the ILWU and PMA indicated the deal was reached with assistance from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su, who had joined the negotiations in San Francisco earlier this week.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that recognizes the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce in keeping our ports operating,” said PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Willie Adams. “We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports.”
Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su stressed that the agreement demonstrates once again that collective bargaining, though at times difficult, works.
“Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the leadership of the ILWU and the PMA, the tentative agreement delivers important stability for workers, for employers and for our country’s supply chain,” said Secretary Su. “This important milestone is welcome news to all, and on behalf of President Biden, we are pleased to congratulate both parties on what they have achieved.”
In recent weeks, the situation had deteriorated when several container terminals experienced minor disruptions or complete shutdowns at such ports as Los Angeles and Long Beach.
(Photo of Port of Los Angeles)