The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association reached agreement on a tentative contract after more than nine months of negotiations, the last four of which were marked by accusations on both sides, and massive port delays.
“After more than nine months of negotiations, we are pleased to have reached an agreement that is good for workers and for the industry,” PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Bob McEllrath said in a joint statement.
The five-year deal still must be approved by the 13,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s rank-and-file. They work 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle that handle about one-quarter of all U.S. international trade, much of it with Asia.
Details of the five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports were not immediately available. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties.
The deal was reached late Friday with assistance from U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh.
West Coast ports are finally working at full speed again—for the most part— but it will likely take months for the backlog to clear, port officials and logistics experts said.
Terminal operators are committed to return West Coast ports to normal operations as quickly as possible, but their ability to eliminate the backlogs of containers and vessels that are choking their facilities will be capped by constraints on the availability of dockworkers, harbor truck drivers and chassis.