Keeley Smith, May 20, 2015, Long Beach Post
Months after port and union contract disagreements caused a massive port slowdown, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) voted to ratify a new contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), to run through July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019, the PMA announced Wednesday.
The ILWU will vote Friday to determine whether or not the contract is officially approved.
“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 in a statement. “The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable.”
Port officials expressed confidence in the contract and an eagerness to win back the “trust and confidence of the shipping community,” according to the release.
Cargo traffic at the 29 ports the PMA administers maritime labor agreements for experienced slowdowns last February amid contentious contract disputes and suspension of operations. The Port of Long Beach (POLB) workers returned to their jobs on Feb. 17. The two organizations reached a tentative agreement on February 20. POLB traffic was affected through April, as the port recorded its highest cargo flow for that month in nine years as a result of working through the contract dispute backlog.