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ILWU rejects contract extension requested by employers at US West Coast ports

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents 70 ocean carriers and the US West Coast port terminals, requested in a letter sent earlier this month that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) extend its current labour contract for another year, to July 1, 2023. The PMA promoted the extension as a “necessary step to protect commerce and our economy during this recovery period.”

The ILWU has rejected that proposal.

In 2019, the ILWU agreed to a three-year extension of the existing contract; union members received a wage increase in return. ILWU President Willie Adams said in a statement this week: “The employer is now asking for an extension to that extension. We’ve been waiting for seven years to address issues that are important to dockworkers.”

The two sides are expected to begin contract negotiations in the spring.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.


  1. This will be an interesting negotiation. At a time when ALL transpacific carriers are literally drowning in a sea of cash/profits, they will be challenged to say ‘no’ to the ILWU about any wage increases.

    But industry experts are predicting the most contentious issue will be making terminals more “automated” and how the union will deal with the anticipated loss of jobs in the years ahead.

    I believe this may be another challenging round of negotiations for both sides. This might be a long hot summer in 2022.

    The US economy will be struggling enough next year given the policies coming from politicians, lingering COVID recovery (??), rising inflation, and increasing energy costs. Now throw in a “slowdown” or worse, a brief shutdown on the west coast docks, just for a show of ILWU strength & unity. Don’t expect much ‘help’ from current State or National political leaders that are beholden to organized labor.

  2. The shipping companies are not drowning in profits. As a matter of fact, there has been and increased revenue for Transpacific carriers. So, to not listen ILUW request for higher wages would be not only an insult but bad for business. The employer will cause expected delay in cargo movement. All the anticipated work stoppages can be averted by proper negotiations for both sides.

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