The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said that early West Coast election results show an existing labor contract with waterfront employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association will be extended by three years.
As of late Friday, the ILWU said it expected the contract extension will pass with 67 percent vote approval so far. The complete tally results and ratification could come as early as next week. Longshore workers represented by the ILWU load and unload ships at West Coast ports, and handle cargo in marine terminals and through terminal gates.
A contentious labor-management dispute in 2014 led to massive delays and congestion, caused by worker slowdowns, most notably at the Ports of Oakland, Long Beach, Portland, Tacoma and Seattle. Negotiators for both sides signed a contract in early 2015 and opened talks on extending the pact last year.
“There was no shortage of differing views during the year-long debate leading up to this vote, and members didn’t take this step lightly,” ILWU President Bob McEllrath said. “The members made the final decision to extend the contract for three years,” to July 1, 2022.
The current ILWU-PMA contract would’ve expired on July 1, 2019. The union said wages would rise, health benefits would be retained and pensions increased, although it provided no details. The pact encompasses 29 ports, including Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland and Seattle, and includes 20,000 longshoremen on the West Coast.
“A decision to extend the contract reflects improving relations and performance up and down the West Coast,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said.
The Port of Oakland is a major economic engine for the region, supporting 73,000 jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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