In an action that is tantamount to a lockout, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) has announced it will not order ILWU labor for vessels at U.S. West Coast ports for four of the next five days. The PMA selected these days, which include today, Saturday, Sunday, and the holiday on Monday (Presidents’ Day), because they represent the highest overtime and holiday pay for longshoremen.
This is designed to send a message to the ILWU that the PMA’s recent labor contract offer is their final offer; and they will no longer pay the highest overtime wages for the ILWU’s alleged labor slowdowns.
This is a continuation of the PMA’s latest policy to not hire crews for night shifts, and follows closure of the ports last weekend. These issues have been ongoing since the labor contract expired on July 1, 2014 and has heated up significantly with labor slowdowns starting in late last year.
We must advise that this action will further delay cargo moving through U.S. West Coast ports while putting pressure on already full East Coast services. Alternate routes through Canada are already jammed and experiencing 4-week delays. Although East Coast ports remain much more fluid, the extreme cold weather arriving this weekend is sure to slow everything down again.
Rich Roche is Vice President, International Transportation for Mohawk Global Logistics. Click here to read more about Rich.