Historic U.S. West Coast waterfront contract extension vote is praiseworthy
Labor agreement would run through 2022
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With voting by longshore workers complete, early returns show a majority of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members agreeing to a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association.
This contract extension, which would be the first of its kind, would cover workers at all 29 West Coast ports. The contract, previously set to expire in 2019, would extend to July 1, 2022, subject to final confirmation by the ILWU, expected next week.
PMA President James McKenna was understandibly relieved.
“Earlier this year, PMA proposed a contract extension with the intent of creating long-term certainty for West Coast ports and all stakeholders," he said. "Early voting returns show strong ILWU support for our proposal, which would ensure labor stability through 2022. This historic agreement will be great news for the maritime industry, as well as our customers, workers, port communities, and the U.S. economy."
Logistics managers were also assured that with this contract extension, the West Coast waterfront has a tremendous opportunity to attract more market share and demonstrate that our ports and our workforce are truly world-class.
"We are fully committed to delivering the highest standards of reliability and productivity for years to come," adds the PMA.
Meanwhile, McKenna looks forward to working with ILWU President Bob McEllrath in the months ahead to ensure that the West Coast sets the standard for service and efficiency, and is the destination of choice for cargo entering and exiting the United States.
Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle, also praised the development.
“This shows that the West Coast means business when it comes to moving cargo for our customers,” he said. “We’re the most efficient, timely and cost-effective gateway for international trade and with a contract extension, we’re also the most dependable.”
Lytle noted that a contract extension "would ease concerns" about labor-management disputes that can arise when waterfront contracts are negotiated.
"Since the last West Coast contract was signed in 2015, labor relations have been good and productivity high, he said. “We feel that a decision to extend the contract reflects improving relations and performance up and down the West Coast.
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]