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

17 Oct 2014
An on-again, off-again dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and ICTSI, operator of Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland, once again shut down the port’s only container terminal for two days this week.
Hanjin vessels at Port of Portland
04 Jun 2014
Either Portland has a bright future as a niche container port in the Pacific Northwest, or it will watch much of its business migrate to other ports in the region, depending upon how the International Longshore and Warehouse Union addresses the port’s flagging productivity.
Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland
02 Jun 2014
Longshoremen engaged in illegal work slowdowns at the Port of Portland from September 2012 to June 2013 as they were contesting jurisdiction for jobs handling refrigerated containers, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge ruled at the weekend.
14 May 2014
Two-thirds of shippers who participated in a JOC survey this week plan to divert at least some cargo away from U.S. West Coast ports to avoid disruption that could emerge from contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and West Coast employers.
09 May 2014
On the eve of U.S. West Coast longshore labor negotiations, a coalition of 67 organizations representing manufacturers, farmers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, transportation and logistics providers is urging negotiators to agree on a new waterfront contract without any work stoppages.
05 May 2014
Hapag-Lloyd at the weekend informed its customers that it will be prepared to levy what could be large congestion surcharges on shipments to and from the United States in the event that work stoppages occur during West Coast longshore contract negotiations this summer.

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.