West Coast Labor Disputes

West Coast Labor Disputes

Relations between members of the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers on the U.S. West Coast have heated up over the past couple years, with protests and other actions in the Pacific Northwest and at ports in California.

The two parties are currently in negotiations for a new contract to replace the one slated to expire on June 30, 2014. For our continuing coverage of the negotiations, visit our ILWU Labor Negotiations page.

Special Coverage

Negotiations are underway for a new contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association. This JOC resource provides answers to common questions regarding the negotiations and their potential impact.

News & Analysis

Weekly wrap-up for Aug. 30, 2014
30 Aug 2014
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest, ending a two-year battle between the two parties. The day after the grain terminal deal was announced, the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents employers in negotiations with the union on a coastwide container contract, issued a joint statement that the parties had reached a tentative agreement on health benefits. The joint release was but the latest indication that these talks are proceeding much less contentiously than negotiations in 2002 or 2008.
29 Aug 2014
Despite the lack of a new West Coast labor contract two months after the expiration of the last agreement, the threat of work stoppages to peak-season merchandise is rapidly receding, according to a retail industry consultant.
26 Aug 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest, spelling the end to an embittered, two-year battle between the two parties and allowing the union to focus on still-unresolved coastwide container talks.
Hanjin vessel at the Port of Portland, Ore.
23 Aug 2014
The Port of Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 22 announced the cancellation of a contract covering two reefer jobs with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, citing dips in productivity at its Terminal 6 facility.
20 Aug 2014
The Port of Oakland was returning to normalcy Wednesday after four days of on-again, off-again demonstrations by anti-Israel protesters involving the Zim Piraeus container ship.
19 Aug 2014
The SSA Marine terminal at the Port of Oakland remained closed Tuesday because longshoremen refused to report to their jobs, even though the anti-Israel demonstrators who had blocked entrance to the facility on Sunday were long gone.

Commentary

As of today, July 30, there is no U.S. West Coast longshore agreement in place, a month after the previous six-year pact expired. In any contract year, the time between expiration and agreement is especially volatile, because the risk of cargo-disrupting labor actions is at its highest. And the risk of disruption isn't diminishing.