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

Portland grain handling
04 Sep 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s two-year battle with grain terminals over a new contract in the Pacific Northwest highlights the major differences between contract negotiations in the bulk cargo sector and negotiations in the container shipping industry.
08 Aug 2014
Despite pleas for relief, the United Grain Corp.
Clear sailing
27 Jul 2014
Even though it now looks like it will be sometime in August before a new agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers is in place, no one is panicking and tensions appear low. Why?
25 Jul 2014
A year-long contract dispute between United Grain Corp. and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union effectively shut down export operations at the Vancouver, Wash., facility this month following a decision by the governor of Washington to withdraw state trooper escorts for grain inspectors.
19 Jul 2014
Contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association will resume on Wednesday after a recess Monday and Tuesday for a previously scheduled longshore division caucus.
Weekly wrap-up for July 19
19 Jul 2014
While it is obvious that beneficial cargo owners shipped early this year through the West Coast in anticipation of the July 1 deadline for contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and waterfront employers, reports of cargo surges at Canadian and U.S. East Coast ports in May and June indicate retailers were also diverting shipments away from West Coast ports.

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.