ILWU: Contract Extension Goes to Membership Vote

The majority of delegates from 29 West Coast ports, who were elected by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Longshore Division (ILWU), have voted to refer the employers’ proposed extension of the 2014-2019 collective bargaining agreement between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to a ratification vote by the membership.

Nearly 90 delegates met in San Francisco on April 28 to review “a wide range of issues” including an employer-initiated proposal to extend the collective bargaining agreement.

“One of the ILWU’s guiding principles is that the rank-and-file members will make the best decision when they have the facts and an opportunity to decide for themselves, and that’s how this will be decided,” Robert McEllrath, ILWU International President, said.

“The rank-and-file membership always have the final say on any contract – including this non-precedent-setting proposed extension,” McEllrath added.

The current contract, which covers 20,000 longshore workers, will expire on July 1, 2019.

Ratified in May 2015, the contract was said to feature an enhanced arbitration system that is designed to support waterfront stability, capacity and productivity. It includes a health-care plan as well as wage and pension increases for ILWU members.

As informed, the vote will occur on a schedule according to the union’s internal rules.

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