Dock dispute: Tentative contract agreement announced by union, terminal operators

(Prague Express, photographed by David Hutchinson on 2/13/2015, one of several days it spent at anchor)
8:26 PM: After more than half a year without a contract, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has reached a tentative agreement with the West Coast terminal operators, according to this joint announcement sent out by both sides (from the Pacific Maritime Association here and the ILWU here):

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union today 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.”

More to come. (Thanks to Verne for the tip.)

ADDED 10:48 PM: Mayor Murray‘s reaction, sent to us and other local-news organizations:

The agreement reached between the ILWU and the PMA is good news for our region’s economy and the tens of thousands of jobs and economic activity that depend on our west coast ports. I want to thank the work of Secretary Perez to help bring both sides together to find an agreement that is good for workers and for the industry. I also want to thank the tireless efforts of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, who helped to organize my west coast colleagues over the last few weeks to support the negotiations. Together, we did everything we could to encourage the two parties to come to a fair agreement and get our ports moving again.

11 Replies to "Dock dispute: Tentative contract agreement announced by union, terminal operators"

  • cj February 20, 2015 (8:41 pm)

    Wow, when the U.S. Secretary of Labor has to step in you know some people were not really negotiating.

  • Ray February 20, 2015 (8:55 pm)

    I will watch with amusement in the future as traffic redirected through the expanded Panama Canal (in 2016) bypassing West Coast ports and going directly to Gulf Coast and East Coast ports.

    Maritime operators will keep this in mind and there will be repercussions.

  • GOP in WS February 20, 2015 (9:04 pm)

    According to AP News, the sticking issue was arbitration procedures. In particular, the SoCal ILWU wanted a mediator out. Union grievance at one individual caused all this?

  • community member February 20, 2015 (9:38 pm)

    @GOP in WS – setting up arbitration procedures is a key part of many contracts. That’s not just a union thing. When you buy something, and have a purchase contract of some sort, there is often an arbitration clause. Contract negotiations often involve determining what the process is for arbitration.
    Of course a press release from PMA would be designed to make it sound like the union’s stance was unreasonable or petty. That doesn’t make it so. It is a foregone conclusion that any press release in that situation is going to say, “We’re generous, the other side is unreasonable.”

  • Derrick February 21, 2015 (4:35 am)

    The Panama Pilots who guide the vessels through the canal are members of the ILWU. I am amused by the pervasive ignorance of the literate.

  • jazzy February 21, 2015 (7:47 am)

    Why didn’t we threaten to send the two sides to the Frozen East Coast sooner! Weather is a heck of a motivator.

  • Mike February 21, 2015 (9:56 am)

    Derrick, not really. Your comment is more ignorant and full of fallacy than truth.

    They are in an alliance, something that is easily broken when the Panama Canal Pilots Union realizes that they can profit in the billions by excluding the ILWU. Unions are just as shady of businessmen as any other company or for profit organization (see PMA).

  • Frank February 21, 2015 (10:07 am)

    I also will watch in amusement in 2016 as the ships attempt to pass through the panama canal as it has taken so long for the widening that most of the major shipping lines vessels will not fit. As with everything in life the ships are being built bigger and bigger to accommodate the massive consumer demand and the thought of the panama canal being able to keep up with the growth is unrealistic.

  • Tom February 21, 2015 (8:04 pm)

    Smaller ships can currently pass through the canal.If bypassing the west coast was more reliable or cheaper the shipping lines would be building smaller ships not larger, even when the canal can handle larger ships there are still issues with added bunker cost for the longer voyage and added time and fees of using the canal. Plus the gulf coast and east coast ports are under the jurisdiction of the ILA, if your dissatisfied with the ILWU the ILA makes the ILWU look like the voice of reason in contract negotiations. While the ILWU wanted to fire an arbitrator the ILA’s arbitrator issues wound up in the trunk of a car in New Jersey in 2012. Wait patiently to be amused!

  • texas February 21, 2015 (9:47 pm)

    Right, Tom. :-) I have to laugh when anti-union zealots think that diverting cargo to the East coast will teach the ILWU a thing or two.

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