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.
10 Jul 2014
The Teamsters union today promised to turn up the heat on trucking companies and marine terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor, although their efforts did not affect cargo-handling and gate operations in the nation’s largest port complex.
09 Jul 2014
In the article titled “Teamsters initiate labor action at LA-Long Beach in midst of longshore talks,” published on July 6, a quote drawn from a tweet was misattributed to a longshoremen.
APL terminal file photo
08 Jul 2014
International Longshore and Warehouse Union longshoremen in Southern California walked off their jobs about 9 a.m. at Evergreen and APL terminals in the Port of Los Angeles today.
07 Jul 2014
Cargo-handling and gate operations at marine terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach continued without interruption today despite threats by the Teamsters union to initiate an “indefinite strike” against three trucking companies that serve the United States’ largest port complex.
07 Jul 2014
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has updated its guidelines for ship and cargo contingency plans in the event of any West Coast port disruption arising from longshore labor union contract negotiations.

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.