JOC Staff, July 7, 2014, JOC.com
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and U.S. West Coast waterfront employers have agreed to take a 72-hour break from negotiations to allow the union to attend “an unrelated negotiation” in the Pacific Northwest.
The six-year contract, which expired July 1, was be extended during the break from 8 a.m. today and through Saturday, the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association said in a terse statement released last night. The announcement came hours after the Teamsters union protested outside marine terminals at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, raising fears, which proved unfounded yesterday, that protestors would erect picket lines and the longshoremen would refuse to cross the lines.
The brief contract extension, “is good news, as it will continue all the terms of the existing contract, will limit the ability of any of the Locals to take their own job actions, and will allow the PMA to seek arbitration if the ILWU Local in LA seeks to honor Teamster pickets this week,” Peter Friedmann, counsel to the Council of New England Companies for Trade, said in an email this morning.
According to the statement: “The parties have agreed to take a 72-hour break from negotiations on a new coast-wide contract while the ILWU attends to an unrelated negotiation taking place in the Pacific Northwest. During this break, starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 8, through 8 a.m. on Friday, July 11, the parties have agreed to extend the previous six-year contract, which expired last week. The PMA and ILWU are negotiating a new contract covering nearly 20,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports.”
Cargo operations at the busiest ports in the nation continued unimpeded yesterday despite Teamsters’ threats of an “indefinite strike” against three harbor trucking companies. The Teamsters protestors distributed flyers accusing harbor trucking companies of misclassifying drivers, but they didn’t block access to the terminals.