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.
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.
28 Apr 2014
A picket line established by independent truck drivers briefly shut down a container terminal at the Port of Long Beach today, but the impact was confined to one facility and was unlikely to result in terminal closures elsewhere in the harbor.
27 Apr 2014
A planned 48-hour protest by truckers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is set for Monday though it’s unclear whether marine operations at the United States’ largest container port complex will be affected.
Hanjin vessel at the Port of Portland, Ore.
04 Apr 2014
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union this past week won several battles in its war against the Port of Portland and terminal operator ICTSI, and it lost a battle.
01 Apr 2014
Port Metro Vancouver is confident that the revised 14-point action plan that convinced truck drivers in late March to end their four-week strike will establish the framework for a long-term solution to the port’s frustrating drayage problems.

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.