In the never-ending dispute over contract negotiations, the US West Coast is witnessing disruptions in cargo operations across major ports. The talks are ongoing between the PMA and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), as both sides negotiate the collective bargaining agreement.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents terminal operators at West Coast ports, said on Saturday that coordinated and disruptive work actions led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have shut down cargo operations at the Port of Seattle.
“On the second and third shift yesterday, work slowdowns directed by ILWU officials brought ground operations at marine terminals to a halt, resulting in longshore workers being sent home. On the first shift today, the ILWU refused to dispatch any longshore workers to container terminals. As a result, the Port of Seattle is currently shut down, leaving American exports sitting idle at the docks,” the terminal operators association said.
However ILWU said that West Coast ports are open and accused the PMA of using the media “to leverage one-sided information in attempt to influence the process.”
“Despite what you are hearing from PMA, West Coast ports are open as we continue to work under our expired collective bargaining agreement,” stated International President Willie Adams.
The collective bargaining agreement that the ILWU and PMA are negotiating covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports. The previous agreement expired on July 1, 2022, and talks began on May 10, 2022. The ILWU and PMA continue to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement and are committed to reaching an agreement.
ILWU claims that dockworkers are seeking a pay increase that reflect the “dedication of the ILWU workforce and its contributions to the shipping industry’s success.”
“We aren’t going to settle for an economic package that doesn’t recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits,” stated International President Willie Adams.
The Port of Seattle did not issue an official statement until now.
The Pacific Maritime Association said also on Friday that after a “series of coordinated and disruptive work actions led by the ILWU at the West Coast’s largest ports between June 2 and June 7, operations have generally improved at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland.”
“However, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma continue to suffer significant slowdowns as a result of targeted ILWU work actions,” PMA said.