SAN FRANCISCO (May 12, 2014) – Negotiations for a new labor contract covering nearly 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports began Monday afternoon in San Francisco. The current contract expires at midnight on June 30, 2014.
The contract is between employers who operate port terminals and shipping lines represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and dockworkers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The parties have negotiated a West Coast collective bargaining agreement since the 1930s.
“Dockworkers are looking forward to negotiating a fair agreement that protects the good jobs and benefits that support thousands of families and dozens of communities around west coast ports,” said ILWU International President Bob McEllrath.
PMA President Jim McKenna said: “West Coast ports have lost significant market share in recent years, and face renewed competition from Canada, Mexico, the Panama Canal and other domestic ports for cargo that has powered job and economic growth in local port communities and beyond. With these stakes in mind, PMA and its members are focused on delivering a contract that ensures the West Coast’s standing as the gateway of choice for goods sent to and from Asia.’’
Talks are scheduled to continue on a daily basis in San Francisco until an agreement is reached. The site of negotiations will alternate on a weekly basis, between the ILWU and PMA offices, both of which are headquartered in San Francisco. Both sides say they expect cargo to keep moving until an agreement is reached.
Wade Gates, PMA, (415) 591-4080
Craig Merrilees, ILWU, (415) 775-0533, ext. 113 (o), (510) 774-5325 (c)