West Coast port labor talks
ILWU, PMA reach tentative deal on ‘certain key issues’
Excerpted from SupplyChainDive.com
Contract talks remain ongoing as the two sides near the one-year mark since negotiations began.
Published April 20, 2023
Edwin Lopez, Managing Editor
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in a press release Thursday negotiators had reached a tentative deal on “certain key issues” with the Pacific Maritime Association.
The longshore union did not specify which issues the new tentative agreements cover and declined to share further comments.
The news marks the first deal publicly announced since July 26, when the two sides said they had reached a tentative agreement on the maintenance of health benefits. Prior to the start of talks in May, port employers had said continuing to offer longshore workers with “world-class wages and benefits” was one of five principles guiding the PMA in contract talks.
Other principles include: avoiding work disruptions; prioritizing safety and training; “modernizing” terminals through densification and automation; and preparing to meet “stringent” environmental regulations, according to the PMA website.
The two parties began negotiating a new master contract in May 2022. Longshore workers and port terminals have been operating without an active contract since the old working agreement expired last July. Contract negotiations cover more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 ports across the U.S. West Coast.
The ILWU reiterated “talks are continuing on an ongoing basis until an agreement is reached,” in its Thursday morning press release. The union had said the two sides were “hopeful of reaching a deal soon” in February.
Los Angeles, Long Beach port terminals shut down due to labor issues
Excerpted from SupplyChainDive.com, April 7, 2023
Terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach have effectively shut down as a result of a local longshore labor action that began Thursday evening.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents West Coast port employers, said a local union at the twin ports withheld some labor for the evening shift on Thursday, leading to widespread labor shortages that halted operations. The actions have continued, leading to closures on Friday morning as well.
“The action by the Union has effectively shut down the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – the largest gateway for maritime trade in the United States,” the PMA said in a statement.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement four of the port’s container terminals are closed for the full day, noting that terminal operators shut down after workers did not report for the day.
“We have no further information as to the situation, but it is expected that normal, regularly scheduled hours and operations will resume tomorrow,” said Cordero.
The Port of Los Angeles said in a statement it is working with stakeholders, including federal officials, to “support a return to normal operations in the San Pedro Bay.”
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers across the West Coast, declined to comment, referring inquiries to ILWU Local 13. The local union did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Port disruptions come at a tough time for the nation’s largest port complex, which continues to lose market share as shippers shift volumes elsewhere to avoid potential disruption from ongoing negotiations. While union leaders and port employers had insisted no major disruption would result from the talks, a lack of an enforceable contract has led to smaller disputes and other limited disruptions over the past year.
“These actions undermine confidence in West Coast ports and threaten to further accelerate the diversion of discretionary cargo to Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. The health of the Southern California and state economy depend on the ability of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to stem this market share erosion,” the PMA said.
Several logistics providers have warned their customers of potential delays and disruptions in light of the action at the San Pedro Bay ports.
“If your container was scheduled to be pulled last night, today, or over the weekend, expect delays in pulling the container. If your empty has not yet returned, expect delayed empty returns and unfortunately additional charges,” Ian Weiland, chief operating officer at Junction Collaborative Transports, said on LinkedIn.
Maersk, meanwhile, said in a customer advisory four of its vessel services — TP6 Maersk Eureka, TP8 Maersk Antares, WCCA Maersk Newcastle and TP2 MSC Livorno — had been affected by the work actions. The ocean liner said that ILWU Local 13 crane operators and top handler drivers “decided to reject their job assignments that were ordered by the employers for the evening’s second shift, impacting all Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals.”
Port disruption also come ahead of Easter Sunday on April 9, which is an ILWU holiday. At least one terminal, Long Beach Container Terminal, has marked its truck gates as closed for the holiday.
Sarah Zimmerman contributed to this story.