ILWU/PMA WEST COAST WATERFRONT TALKS CONTINUE
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents employers, are continuing their negotiations on a new waterfront contract covering all U.S. West Coast ports.
“Negotiations are ongoing — we are continuing to talk,” said Steve Stallone, spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
The previous three-year contract expired on July 1. Contrary to predictions in the industry, port employers and unions have refrained from strikes, slowdowns and lock-out actions as the July 1 expiry date of the previous three-year waterfront labor contract passed.
Earlier this week, Pacific Maritime Association and ILWU negotiators toured several terminals in the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex to look at “current manning and computer systems,” the union reported.
They toured the APL, Stevedoring Services of America, Hanjin and Maersk terminals.
The West Coast Waterfront Coalition, a lobby group, hopes that both sides will complete their negotiations in time to allow the ILWU to present the deal to its members at a union caucus scheduled on July 22.
“That would be ideal,” said Robin Lanier, a director of the group. The West Coast Waterfront Coalition represents mainly exporters and importers such as Nike and Wal-Mart, but also includes the PMA among its members.
Stallone said he could not say whether the negotiations would be completed by July 22. “I can’t predict that,” he told American Shipper.
Both the union and the PMA have observed a news blackout on the negotiations. The PMA has posted non-controversial, short updates on the duration of the negotiation sessions on its web site. The ILWU has also posted limited information on its Internet site.
Lanier said that technology, modernization of work rules, assurances about the protection of jobs, and job benefits are likely to be key issues in the negotiations. However, no information about the actual progress and sticking points of the negotiations has leaked into the public domain, she said.