No Work Disruptions at West Coast Ports, Say PMA, ILWU
Los Angeles, CA – Despite the failure to hammer out a contract by today’s 5:00 p.m. PST deadline, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have announced that there will be no disruption of cargo handling activity at 29 ports from Tacoma to San Diego.
Both the PMA and the ILWU issued a joint statement saying that, “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached.”
The PMA represents terminal operators and ocean carriers with the ILWU representing the 20,000 longshoremen that work the docks at what are some of the busiest container ports in the country.
Both sides, the statement said, “understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support.”
It’s not unusual for PMA-ILWU negotiations at West Coast ports to extend beyond the contract expiration date. The current round of negotiations could stretch through to the end of this month.
“The negotiators will keep negotiating, the workers will keep working,” said Craig Merrilees, spokesman for the ILWU last week. In 2002, a breakdown in negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout at West Coast ports that resulted in an 11-day port shutdown that analysts said cost the US economy $1 billion a day and disrupted supply chains for six months.