(November 4, 2014) On July 1 the contract between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) expired. The parties have been negotiating for a new contract but have not reached an agreement.
This fall, the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen high levels of congestion unrelated to these labor issues. Yesterday, however, the PMA issued a press release stating that the ILWU had initiated orchestrated work slowdowns in the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, reducing productivity by an average of 40-60%. The PMA release states that the actions taken by the ILWU renege on an agreement that “normal operations at West Coast ports would continue until an agreement could be reached.”
In response, the ILWU issued a press release calling the PMA release a “Dishonest media offensive by PMA.” The release also stated “No such agreement [regarding continuation of normal operations] was ever made, nor could it be made given the parties’ historic disagreement regarding the definition of ‘normal operations’ – a disagreement that has been the subject of arbitrations for decades.”
Despite the obvious tension between the parties, both stated in their press releases that they are looking to continue negotiations. As of this writing, both Seattle and Tacoma ports are open, but there are delays and backups.
Odyssey will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates and advice as the situation warrants. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concern please feel free to contact us here or call 1-885-412-0200.
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