The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the Coast Longshore Division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced late on June 14 that they reached an agreement on a new six-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports of the United States, in California, Oregon and Washington.
The deal was reached with assistance from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement that recognizes the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce in keeping our ports operating," said PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Willie Adams in a joint statement. "We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports."
The joint press release of the PMNA and ILWU also stated, "The parties will not be releasing details of the agreement at this time. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties."
Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su said in a statement on the U.S. Department of Labor website, "This afternoon (June 14), the leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association reached a tentative agreement covering 22,000 workers and 29 West Coast ports, demonstrating once again that collective bargaining, though sometimes difficult, works.
"Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the leadership of the ILWU and the PMA, the tentative agreement delivers important stability for workers, for employers and for our country's supply chain. This important milestone is welcome news to all, and on behalf of President Biden, we are pleased to congratulate both parties on what they have achieved."
In a statement on the White House website, President Biden said, "As I have always said, collective bargaining works, and I congratulate both parties at the ports for reaching an agreement. I want to thank Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, who used her deep experience and judgment to keep the parties talking, working with them to reach an agreement after a long and sometimes acrimonious negotiation. Above all, I congratulate the port workers, who have served heroically through the pandemic and the countless challenges it brought, and will finally get the pay, benefits, and quality of life they deserve."
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom said in a statement, "This is tremendous news for U.S. red meat exporters and their overseas customers. While the ratification process will take some time, the tentative agreement will restore stability and confidence in the performance of the West Coast ports, and this is absolutely essential for our industry. USMEF thanks the parties for their flexibility and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su for making this matter a top priority."
The National Retail Federation (NRF) issued the following statement on their website from President and CEO Matthew Shay saying, "On behalf of the retail industry, we are relieved to see the parties have come to a tentative mutual agreement on a long-term contract for labor operations at the West Coast ports, ending over a year of negotiations and uncertainty. A new agreement provides stability to the supply chain and assurance to the millions of businesses and employees who rely on smooth and efficient operations from the West Coast ports."
Remember that in March of 2023, the NRF organized a coalition letter to President Biden that was signed by more than 230 associations, urging the administration to work with the parties to conclude their negotiations and come up with a mutual contract agreement. Then, on June 5, the NRF again asked for President Biden to mediate to ensure the parties quickly finalize a new contract to halt continued disruptions at West Coast ports.
Shay added, "Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the leadership of the ILWU and the PMA, the tentative agreement delivers important stability for workers, for employers and for our country's supply chain. This important milestone is welcome news to all, and on behalf of President Biden, we are pleased to congratulate both parties on what they have achieved."
Mary Kennedy can be reached at Mary.Kennedy@dtn.com
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