The members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have voted to ratify a new five-year contract with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. The contract, if ratified by the ILWU, is retroactive to July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2019.
The coast-wide contract is said to cover nearly 14,000 longshore, clerk and foreman workers at 29 ports along the West Coast, from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest.
The contract features an enhanced arbitration system that is designed to support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity, according to the PMA, which further noted the increasingly competitive environment West Coast ports face now and into the future from a variety of factors, including the long-anticipated opening of the expanded Panama Canal.
Health care changes maintained in the contract will foster greater efficiency, cost containment and fraud prevention for the long-term, noted PMA. The agreement also features wage and pension increases for ILWU members.
“The West Coast ports are an economic engine for the United States, supporting millions of workers and trillions in economic impact,” said PMA president and CEO Jim McKenna. “The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable. We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”
The PMA works on behalf of 72 member companies including shipping lines and terminal operators.
In an April vote, the ILWU Coast Longshore Caucus delegates recommended approval of the tentative agreement between the union and employers represented by the PMA. The outcome of the final ILWU member ratification vote is expected by tomorrow, Friday, May 22.