Negotiators for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association met on November 1st in San Francisco where discussions were held on the concept of a possible extension of their coastwide contract.
According to the Journal of Commerce, PMA President James McKenna said both parties intend to proceed cautiously. If they can agree to focus on a limited scope of issues, primarily wages and benefits, rather than reopening the entire contract that was negotiated in 2014 and 2015, there will be additional negotiating sessions, he said.
As we’ve reported earlier, the current collective bargaining agreement covering 29 west coast ports expires on July 1, 2019. It was reached after nine months of difficult bargaining that began in May 2014 and ended with a tentative contract agreement that was reached on February 20th, 2015. It was the worst congestion at West Coast since the 2002 contract negotiations.
Among the most difficult issues in contract negotiations are not only wages and benefits. but also ILWU jurisdiction and arbitration issues can be contentious.
Neither side has indicated how long the extension would be.
RCL Agencies will provide more update once available.