In a press release published last night, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) revealed details of its “all-in” West Coast labor contract offer to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
According to the release, the PMA, which represents the ocean carriers, designed the offer to include many concessions to union demands in an effort to “break the deadlock” at the negotiating table and bring contract talks “to a close after nearly nine months.”
Should the ILWU accept the offer, union members would benefit from increased wages and pension, a guaranteed 40-hour work week, and jurisdiction over truck chassis maintenance and repair—a right long sought by the ILWU.
The release also claims “the deteriorating situation on the docks” and “crippled productivity at major West Coast ports” are directly linked to ILWU slowdowns, “now in their 14th week.”
The industry as a whole is now speculating that a lockout could be imminent. The stakes have never been higher for West Coast ports, which stand to lose market share to East Coast and Gulf Coast ports being serviced by the new Suez Canal and the soon to be expanded Panama Canal. One can infer from the PMA’s release that something’s gotta give.
Rich Roche is Vice President, International Transportation for Mohawk Global Logistics. Click here to read more about Rich.