Tentative labor agreement reached between union and employers in U.S. West Coast ports
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and employers at U.S. West Coast ports announced June 14 a tentative deal on a new six-year contract, ending 13 months of talks and easing supply chain worries.
The agreement, covering workers at ports stretching from California to Washington State, was reached with assistance from Acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su, the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) employer group said in a joint statement.
“Today is a monumental day for U.S. West Coast seaports. Labor peace is a commitment to continue delivering the country's most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable cargo operations. Asia to the West Coast remains the most efficient route," says Port of Oakland Executive Director, Danny Wan, in a statement.
"We thank Acting Secretary Labor Secretary Julie Su for her key role in the negotiations,” adds Wan.
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The Port of Oakland is an agricultural gateway for farm goods produced in California’s Central Valley. Oakland has also become the preferred gateway for U.S. Midwest beef and pork exports.
Workers covered by the agreement, who have been working without a contract since July 1, are based at some of the nation's busiest seaports, including the main ocean trade gateway in the United States. They sought a share of pandemic cargo surge profits and retroactive pay.
In a statement, Port of Oakland noted that Wan shared the excitement about the future of business at West Coast ports as the agreement is finalized.
Port of Oakland has been diligently working with tenants and maritime partners globally to return diverted cargo to the West Coast and continue growing local jobs. More than 84,000 regional jobs rely on the Port of Oakland.
According to Reuters, West Coast port market share dipped after customers shifted cargo to the East and Gulf Coast ports to avoid potential labor disruptions during the negotiations, so the announcement comes as a relief for commerce in and out of the U.S. West Coast.