Potential 2014 ILWU Strike FAQ List

Why is there concern about possible disruption at U.S. West Coast ports?

Negotiations for new longshore labor agreements are when the risk of disruption at ports is at its highest.

When is the risk of disruption the greatest?

The risk of disruption is greatest as negotiators get closer to the end of the current contract, which expires at midnight on June 30, and in the days and weeks after if no agreement is reached by then, which is a distinct possibility.

 Is disruption a certainty?

It is likely there will be some disruption, but how much is very hard to predict.

What ports do the negotiations cover?

The negotiations cover 29 U.S. West Coast ports, including all the major West Coast container ports – Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma.

Are shippers diverting or accelerating cargo shipments to avoid the U.S. West Coast. What are shippers’ options?

Yes. Shippers are clearly diverting and accelerating shipments to avoid potential impact from the negotiations. They have options but by late May time was running out given the necessary multi-week lead times on shipments from Asia.

What will be the duration of the new West Coast longshore contract?

The six-year duration was introduced in 2002 following the 10-day shutdown and was repeated in 2008. Prior to that contracts had lasted three years.

What are other potential flashpoints?

Jurisdiction is a big one. With union jobs in general in decline, unions are fighting it out among themselves over who will represent the remaining workers. The West Coast waterfront is no exception.

How much do West Coast longshoremen earn?

ILWU workers receive a compensation package that is “among the most lucrative among all blue-collar workers in the United States,” according to the PMA. Full-time workers earn an average of $142,000 annually in wages, along with a non-wage benefits package costing more than $82,000 per active worker per year.


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