Industries relying on West Coast port operations were watching contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) with much anticipation this week. ILWU held a coast-wide caucus of its leadership beginning Dec. 15, in which union representatives reviewed and responded to a contract proposal from PMA.
But unfortunately, the exchange of contract proposals seems to have produced little progress in the negotiations. In a Dec. 17 news release, PMA said, “Statements and rumors that our negotiations are ‘close’ to a final contract are not true. Even after seven months of negotiations, we remain far apart on several issues, and the union slowdowns continue to disrupt the movement of cargo through the ports.”
Direct contract negotiations resumed Dec. 18. The two sides have yet not announced whether negotiations will continue through the holidays, but USMEF will provide updates as more information becomes available.