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.

News & Analysis

15 May 2020
Sources say there is little doubt that automation will be a major issue for the ILWU when negotiations begin, likely in early 2022. The question is how hard it will press the issue.
30 May 2019
Operations at the Port of Vancouver will resume at 4:30 p.m. local time thanks to a tentative new labor agreement between the BCMEA and ILWU Canada.
28 May 2019
Waterfront employers have informed ILWU Canada they will be locked out of the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert at 8 a.m. Thursday if contract negotiations remain at a stalemate.
30 Sep 2017
Cargo-handling resumed and truck gates reopened at one of the largest container terminals in Southern California at the height of the peak-shipping season.
28 Sep 2017
ILWU Local 63 in Southern California shuts down APL terminal as it negotiates contract for newly organized superintendents.
05 Aug 2017
ILWU three-year contract extension is now official
Ships at berth at the Port of Long Beach, such as the one pictured, are able to plug into shore-supplied power, which is known as cold-ironing, as part of the port's pollution reduction efforts.
25 Aug 2016
The congestion that crippled West Coast ports in 2015 temporarily derailed the progress in reducing pollution at the Port of Long Beach.
19 Jun 2016
“Negotiations are more visible now. There is pressure on both sides, and pressure does a lot to get things done,” said Pacific Maritime Association President Jim McKenna.
Port of Los Angeles
25 Nov 2015
The Port of Los Angeles' Christopher Chase on the impact of the 2014/2015 West Coast labor disruption, e-commerce and inland distribution.
Port of Long Beach
25 Nov 2015
Port of Long Beach's Dr. Noel Hacegaba discusses the port's achievement of record-breaking volumes in the wake of severe port service disruptions along the West Coast due to labor negotiations, alliances and chassis shortage challenges
Averitt's Charlie McGee at JOC Inland Distribution 2015
22 Nov 2015
Averitt's Charlie McGee on international supply chain solutions, risk tolerance and expectations for 2016.
JOC Inland Distribution Conference 2015
04 Nov 2015
JOC Senior Editor Bill Cassidy reports on the Oct. 2015 Inland Distribution Conference, including insights from FedEx Chairman Fred Smith, key concerns facing shippers and and regulatory changes impacting truck drivers on the road.
07 Oct 2015
The labor dispute that clogged West Coast ports with containers for months is still shaping freight markets, speakers at the JOC Inland Distribution Conference say, months after a contract was signed and the freight logjam broke.
17 Jul 2015
A union representing machinists is challenging the Long Beach Harbor Commission over a requirement that maintenance and repair work associated with the port’s proposed peak-season chassis pool be performed by International Longshore and Warehouse Union mechanics.
29 Jun 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said Monday that bills before Congress seeking to avoid lengthy negotiations marked by slowdowns and employer retaliation that recently plagued West Coast ports aren’t the answer.
27 Jun 2015
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union doesn’t buy ocean carriers’ explanation that they stopped providing chassis to truckers and cargo interests in order to save money, said Bobby Olvera, president of ILWU Local 13 in Southern California.
27 Jun 2015
U.S. agriculture shouldn’t expect dramatic improvements in cargo-handling productivity to come out of the new West Coast longshore contract, said Ed DeNike, chief operating officer at SSA Marine, said the contract itself will not deliver productivity.
01 Jun 2015
Uncertainties over implementation of the contract are bound to occur in the weeks ahead at all West Coast ports until the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association provide clarity on important provisions in the contract covering work rules and related issues such as mandatory dockworker inspections of chassis at marine terminals.
23 May 2015
The West Coast contract agreement that was ratified Friday by the membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, while applauded by cargo interests, carriers, ports and truckers, and rightfully so, will have a limited impact on West Coast port productivity and labor relations.
20 May 2015
U.S. West Coast waterfront employers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a five-year contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, bringing both sides one step closer to healing the wounds inflicted on shippers during months of congestion.
Port of Virginia
13 May 2015
Legislation pushed by the third-ranking Senate Republican aims to keep Congress more in the loop on port congestion flare-ups and gauge how labor negotiations impact port performance.
04 May 2015
Seattle and Tacoma took a big hit in the first quarter as its market share among Canadian Pacific Northwest ports took a dive amid longshore labor disruption.
09 Apr 2015
The chief executives of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are looking beyond their current congestion problems to resume what they see as their ports’ rightful role as leaders of the U.S. port industry, and it will all be about infrastructure and processes.
08 Apr 2015
Hapag-Lloyd notified its Pacific Northwest customers on Tuesday that it has ended its service to Portland because of “schedule integrity” problems.
24 Mar 2015
If the leadership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is going to convince the union rank and file that the tentative contract agreement is a good deal for the general membership, the officers will have to fend off a concerted effort by militant members and retired members of the ILWU to jettison the deal.
Bobby Olvera
24 Mar 2015
International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 President Bobby Olvera told the Long Beach Harbor Commission that dockworkers are committed to clearing out the worst container backlog to hit the Southern California ports in more than a decade, and wants to see the reputation of the ports restored.
20 Mar 2015
Nike had a strong winter in North America thanks to robust consumer demand, but it would have had an even better one were it not for the West Coast labor standoff.
15 Mar 2015
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union local in Portland, Oregon, was ordered to pay $60,000 in damage
12 Mar 2015
Terminal operations up and down the West Coast were in start and stop mode this week in attempting to recover from the backlogs that built up during the tense longshore labor standoff that ended with a tentative agreement between labor and management on Feb. 20th.
Port of Oakland
06 Mar 2015
After two weeks of working all-out to clear its worst congestion problem since 2002, the Port of Oakland on Friday reported reduced vessel backups and yard congestion, improved truck transaction times and better terminal productivity.
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.
25 Feb 2015
Retailers continue to feel the hangover of West Coast port gridlock that will persist for weeks despite tentative agreement on a coastwide longshore labor contract.
25 Feb 2015
WASHINGTON — California Rep. Janice Hahn called on the House Budget Committee Wednesday to increase funding for U.S. ports, which will see financing fall millions of dollars short of targets Congress and the White House agreed on last year.
25 Feb 2015
The credit ratings of major West Coast ports will not be significantly impacted in the short to medium term by the cargo-handling disruptions that occurred during the protracted dockworker contract negotiations, but continued labor problems would cast the ports as unreliable, and would likely lead to permanent cargo diversion, Fitch Ratings stated Wednesday.
25 Feb 2015
The last two months of U.S. West Coast congestion appear to have cemented many shippers’ plans to divert cargo to other ports, according to a recent JOC.com survey.

Commentary

Contract extension talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association must address productivity issues in a serious way so US West Coast ports get somewhere remotely close to the efficiency at other major ports in the world. 

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