ILWU, PMA RATIFIES WEST COAST LABOR AGREEMENT
Rank-and-file members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have approved a new, six-year collective bargaining contract for dockworkers and marine clerks at West Coast ports.
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said that “I am very pleased that the members…. voted to ratify the contract their leaders negotiated.”
A ILWU spokesman, Steve Stallone, said that the final tally among ILWU members was 7,405 in favor and 888 against the new contract, or 89.3 percent to 10.7 percent. Voter turnout was 85 percent, and all ten ILWU locals approved the pact. Had any one unit not approved, the entire ILWU membership would have voted again, with the pact having to carry the day by a vote of 60 percent plus one The PMA did not report the actual tally of its 79 members, but said the margin of approval was “overwhelming.” “We want to continue to give shippers every reason to send their goods through our ports. This agreement will enable us to do just that,” said Joe Miniace, president of the PMA.
The contract provides ILWU members with wage increases, a 58-percent rise in pension benefits, and protection guarantees so that no currently registered worker will lose a job as a result of technology.
After the PMA shut down 29 West Coast ports in 2002 for 12 days, President Bush asked for a federal injunction under the Taft-Hartley Act to bring on an 80-day cooling off period. The ILWU and PMA finally concluded their acrimonious contract negotiations after prodding by federal mediators.
Approving the contract does not mean that the PMA and ILWU will lead tranquil lives for six years.
“The new arbitration process on technology will likely be tested early and often,” the ILWU said in a statement.