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

Chicago business
27 Feb 2015
A broad measure of business activity for the Chicago are plunged in February with much of the blame being laid at the door of the West Coast port labor standoff.
01 Jan 2015
The Pacific Maritime Association launched a game of brinksmanship on New Year’s Eve, notifying the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at Los Angeles-Long Beach that beginning Friday, employers on night shifts will dispatch only one longshore crew to work each vessel, rather than three as has been the norm.
cargo handling at Port of Oakland
30 Dec 2014
The gloves have come off. If there is one issue that the Pacific Maritime Association know will undercut any possible sympathy the International Longshore and Warehouse Union would hope to have from the public, it is how much they make.
Hapag-Lloyd container ship in Port of Los Angeles
29 Dec 2014
International Longshore and Warehouse Union President Robert McEllrath has challenged ocean carrier executives to become directly involved in contract negotiations in order to end the impasse that has existed since the previous West Coast waterfront contract expired on July 1.
container ships docked at the Port of Oakland
29 Dec 2014
Vessels on Monday continued to back up at anchor at the Port of Oakland and truck turn times were three hours or longer now that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has chosen the Northern California port as its latest target for work slowdowns on the West Coast.
Yang Ming ship in Port of Los Angeles, August 2014
27 Dec 2014
West Coast newspaper editorials are jumping in on the side of federal mediators joining the stalled West Coast longshore talks, in a sign that public patience is wearing thin as losses mount for importers and exporters amid continuing delays at ports up and down the coast.


The Feb. 20 tentative agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association brought a measure of labor peace to the U.S. West Coast waterfront. But after nine months of negotiations marked by labor slowdowns, threats of a lockout and the worst congestion in more than a decade, the scars will be raw for some time.

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