AmericasPorts and Logistics

ILWU ratifies contract, formally ending the west coast ports’ labour dispute

San Francisco: Union members followed management’s lead and signed on to a new labour contract for the US west coast ports on Friday, effectively rubber-stamping the end of the dispute that wracked Pacific docks for months.

Although the tentative deal was agreed in February and work resumed as normal in March, allowing the gradual clearing of container and cargo backlogs, the official seal was only put on the end of the action this week.

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) side signed off on it on Wednesday.

In signing the deal International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members have ratified a five-year contract governing pay and work rules at 29 west coast ports, from California to Washington state, including the major hubs of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The new contract, which is retroactive to July 2014 and runs until June 30, 2019, was supported by 82 percent of members who voted.

The contract provides for some 20,000 jobs and will include pay and pension increases for dockworkers. It also alters the arbitration system for labour-management disputes. Both sides expressed hope that the latter clause would make actions such as the recent ones much less likely to happen.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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