West Coast Ports Set Four-Day Suspension Of Vessel Operations

The Pacific Maritime Association has stated that it will temporarily suspend West Coast port vessel operations for four days, including today.

The four dates impacted by the suspension of vessel operations are today, February 12 (Lincoln’s Birthday); Saturday, 2/14; Sunday, 2/15; and Monday, 2/16 (Washington’s Birthday). While vessel operations will be suspended, yard, gate and rail operations will continue, said PMA.

Weekend and holiday pay rates command a premium of at least 50% of the basic longshore wage rate, the PMA stated, concluding that they will not conduct vessel operations on those dates, paying full shifts of ILWU workers the higher rates, and further citing the work “slowdown” as the backlog of cargo at West Coast ports grows.

“Last week, PMA made a comprehensive contract offer designed to bring these talks to conclusion,” said PMA spokesman Wade Gates. “The ILWU responded with demands they knew we could not meet, and continued slowdowns that will soon bring West Coast ports to gridlock. What they’re doing amounts to a strike with pay, and we will reduce the extent to which we pay premium rates for such a strike.”

Recently, talks between the Pacific Maritime Association representing port management, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) officially broke down, and without an agreement, experts have suggested that nearly 30 west coast ports could be shut down within a week.