UPDATE: Port Contract Ratified by Shippers and Longshore Workers

Import & Export

As of Friday, May 22, 2015

UPDATE: On May 22, 82 percent of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members voted to ratify the new 5-year contract. According to the ILWU, the new contract "provides approximately 20,000 good-paying jobs in 29 West Coast port communities."

“The negotiations for this contract were some of the longest and most difficult in our recent history,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath, in a statement. “Membership unity and hard work by the Negotiating Committee made this fair outcome possible.”

Members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents shipping lines and terminal operators, voted to ratify a new five-year contract with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. The contract, which will run through June 30, 2019, now needs to be ratified by the ILWU.

The contract includes an arbitration system designed to “support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity,” according to a statement released by the PMA, which warns that the West Coast ports are poised to face increased competition with the scheduled opening of the expanded Panama Canal.

Among the provisions in the agreement are changes to the employer-paid healthcare plan to “foster greater efficiency, cost containment and fraud prevention for the long term.” The contract also includes wage and pension increases for ILWU members.

“The West Coast ports are an economic engine for the United States, supporting millions of workers and trillions in economic impact,” said PMA President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McKenna. “The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable. We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”

The ILWU ratification vote is expected to be announced May 22.