Sighs of relief came from West Coast ports as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on Aug. 31 ratified the tentative contract agreement reached in June with employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
ILWU members voted 75% in favor of approving the new six-year agreement that will expire on July 1, 2028.
Voting results were certified yesterday by the ILWU’s Coast Balloting Committee, which was chosen by Coast Longshore Division Caucus delegates elected from each of the 29 West Coast ports.
“The negotiations for this contract were protracted and challenging,” ILWU International President Willie Adams said. “I am grateful to our rank and file for their strength, to our negotiating committee for their vision and tenacity, and to those that supported giving the ILWU and PMA the space that we needed to get to this result.”
The ILWU said the new agreement, reached with the help of acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su, “protects good-paying jobs in 29 West Coast port communities, maintains health benefits, and improves wages, pensions and safety protections.”
The news was particularly welcome at the San Pedro Bay ports which have been seeing container volumes drop and cargo moving to Gulf and U.S. east coast ports.
“Thank you to the 22,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members who overwhelmingly ratified a six-year contract,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “With the leadership of ILWU President Willie Adams and PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna, the collective bargaining system worked. This contract brings long-term stability and confidence to our customers as we re-double our efforts to bring more cargo back to the Port of Los Angeles, the premier gateway to and from the Pacific Rim.”
“The contract ratification will have a hugely beneficial impact to the U.S. economy, which depends on our ports and the trade they facilitate,” Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordera said. “The goods movement workforce and terminal operators provide the top-notch service that brings cargo from around the world to our docks. We’re proud to partner with the ILWU and PMA to move cargo through the nation’s largest trade gateway here in the San Pedro Bay. This contract will pave the way for the San Pedro Bay ports complex to competitively and sustainably keep the nation’s cargo and the nation’s economy moving.”