USA: PMA, ILWU Agree on New Contract

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports.

The deal was reached with assistance from U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, the PMA said.

PMA added that the parties would not be releasing details of the agreement at this time.

The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties.

“After more than nine months of negotiations, we are pleased to have reached an agreement that is good for workers and for the industry,” said PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Bob McEllrath in a joint statement. “We are also pleased that our ports can now resume full operations.”

“We congratulate the ILWU and PMA for finally coming to agreement on a new labor contract. It is now time for the parties to quickly ratify the deal and immediately focus on clearing out the crisis-level congestion and backlog at the ports,” the National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said commenting on the tentative deal.

“As we welcome today’s news, we must dedicate ourselves to finding a new way to ensure that this nightmare scenario is not repeated again. If we are to truly have modern international trade, supply chain and transportation systems, we must develop a better process for contract negotiations moving forward. We must commit whatever resources necessary to ensure that this will not happen again,” Shay added.

The ongoing contract dispute has had a horrendous impact on the productivity of the US West Coast ports, which have recorded significant drops in their monthly cargo volumes.

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