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“We are getting there” – ILWU on US West Coast labour negotiations breaking down

ILWU remains committed to negotiating a good agreement for ILWU workers as contract talks continue amid discussions about carrier’s pandemic profits“.

This seems to be news from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) which represents over 22,000 workers across the West Coast ports in terms of its labor negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) which represents over 70 multi-national ocean carriers and maritime companies in the USA.

In a statement released on 2nd June, the ILWU stated that the PMA member carriers and terminal operators made historic profits of $510 billion during the pandemic with profits jumping nearly 1000% in some cases.

While shipping volumes return to normal in 2023 and PMA members have continued to post revenues that far exceed pre-pandemic times by billions of dollars, the ILWU states that the percentage of ILWU wages and benefits continued to drop compared to PMA rising revenues.

As per the statement, this drop is despite the fact that ILWU workers risked and lost their lives during the pandemic to ensure grocery store shelves were stocked, PPE was made available, essential medical supplies were reaching our hospitals, and record volumes of consumer goods continued to reach the doorsteps of American consumers while also enabling the shipping industries’ astronomical revenues.

The statement further state that ILWU is committed to bargaining a contract that is fair and equitable, including wages and benefits that reflect the dedication of the ILWU workforce and its contributions to the shipping industry’s success.

While International President Willie Adams stated reports that negotiations have broken down are false, he also warned that “We are getting there but it’s important to understand that West Coast dockworkers kept the economy going during the pandemic and lost their lives doing so.  We aren’t going to settle for an economic package that doesn’t recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits.

The collective bargaining agreement that the ILWU and PMA are negotiating covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports.  The previous agreement expired on July 1, 2022, and talks began on May 10, 2022.

This release seems to follow the earlier news that TraPac and Fenix terminals in the Port of Los Angeles canceled appointments on the 2nd of June 2023 due to lack of labor and in Oakland, SSA Marine #OICT, TraPac, and EVERPORT TERMINAL SERVICES also shut down since labor didn’t even pick up for work.

As per info from Matt Schrap, Chief Executive Officer at Harbor Trucking Association, Fenix Marine Services one of the Port of Los Angeles terminals has stated that while shifts were closed for the 2nd June, the 2nd of June, Monday 5th June, and Tuesday 6th June 2023 will be counted as a “free-days” within their system for purposes of demurrage collection (read storage).

This is despite the fact that AB2406 passed by the California State Assembly, and the California State Senate and signed by California Governor, Gavin Newsom in 2022 says that anything that prevents the pick-up or drop-off of containers is not eligible for freetime consumption or DND assessment…

More news is awaited.

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