Business says ‘time is of the essence’ in reaching ILWU-PMA contract

The lack of a labor contract for West Coast longshoremen is contributing to West Coast port congestion, trade groups say.

Excerpt from American Shipper  |  By Chris Dupin | October 22, 2014


A group of 105 trade organizations has asked the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association to quickly conclude a new labor agreement, saying “congestion problems at key West Coast ports in both the U.S. and Canada are getting worse each day, and the absence of a new signed contract between the ILWU and PMA is a significant contributing factor.”

The group represents manufacturers, farmers, agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, and transportation and logistics providers. 

“Many U.S. and Canadian stakeholders we represent are already experiencing severe negative effects of delayed shipments. Unless addressed by the two negotiating parties, this situation will soon start to have a broader negative impact on the U.S. and broader North American economies,” according to the letter signed by organizations such as the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Our members are concerned that there has been no visible progress in the negotiations since August, when the ILWU and PMA announced a  ‘tentative deal’ on health benefits,” said the group, which sent similar letters in May and July.

“We ask that both parties recognize that time is of the essence. We encourage you to stay the course, complete the contract negotiations as soon as possible and work to resolve the current congestion issues without further interrupting the flow of commerce,” the group wrote.