The proposed extension of the labour contract for US west coast dockworkers has taken a step towards being realized after a majority of delegates of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted to put management’s proposals to their 20,000-strong rank and file.
Almost 90 ILWU delegates voted at a meeting in San Francisco. The deal under consideration is between the ILWU and the employers’ body the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
If ratified by the union membership it will mean likely continued labour peace at 29 ports all along the Pacific Coast from San Diego in southern California to Bellingham in Washington.
The existing labour contract is still good until July 2019 but this extension would take it on for a further three years.
In 2015, a labour dispute led to nine months of industrial action causing slowdowns and backlogs. That did damage to the west coast ports’ reputation for efficiency and reliability.