The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have announced a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports. The deal was reached with assistance from U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service deputy director Scot Beckenbaugh.
The parties will not be releasing details of the agreement at this time. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties.
“After more than nine months of negotiations, we are pleased to have reached an agreement that is good for workers and for the industry,” said PMA president James McKenna and ILWU president Bob McEllrath in a joint statement. “We are also pleased that our ports can now resume full operations.”
Reacting to the settlement, Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), said, “The congestion, slowdowns and suspensions over the last few months have had a significant economic impact on the entire supply chain and those who rely on the West Coast ports to move their goods and products around the world and throughout the country. The agricultural, manufacturing, retailing and transportation industries have all suffered due to the nine-month long contract negotiations.”
Shay expressed hope that this type of “nightmare scenario is not repeated again. If we are to truly have modern international trade, supply chain and transportation systems, we must develop a better process for contract negotiations moving forward. We must commit whatever resources necessary to ensure that this will not happen again.”