About 100 delegates from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) gathered in San Francisco this week for a three-day caucus. The main agenda item was a vote on whether to enter early contract extension negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The current ILWU-PMA contract, covering all U.S. West Coast ports, doesn’t expire until July 1, 2019, but in April PMA submitted a formal request to begin early talks on an extension. The request was due in large part to the severe port congestion and disruption that occurred during the most recent contract negotiations that were expected to conclude in the summer of 2014, but were not settled until late February 2015.
USMEF was among the 128 trade associations that issued a letter this week to ILWU and PMA, urging them to open negotiations on the contract extension.
On Aug. 11, the ILWU delegates voted affirmatively to enter contract extension discussions with PMA. However, the ILWU statement emphasized that its representatives must hold initial meetings with PMA, then report back to the general membership, before determining whether to move forward with full negotiations.