Photo by Guillaume Merle on Unsplash

Tentative Port Labor Agreement Reached

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Trade

Port Labor Agreement

A tentative port labor agreement has been reached between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The new six-year contract will cover workers at all 29 West Coast ports. The tentative agreement comes after nearly a year of negotiations.

“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,” PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Willie Adams said in a joint statement. “We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports.”

The groups note that Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su played a “key role” in finally reaching an agreement. Su had been dispatched to San Francisco this week after encouragement from business groups for the Biden Administration to get more involved. In a statement, President Biden praised Su for her efforts. Biden said the negotiations were “long and sometimes acrimonious” but that “collective bargaining works, and I congratulate both parties at the ports for reaching an agreement.”

Details of the tentative port labor agreement have yet to be released and will still need to be ratified by both parties. Several agricultural groups along with other supply chain stakeholders had expressed growing concern by the lack of a new labor contract. Work stoppages at West Coast ports were continuing to create uncertainty. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom said that the agreement is good news for American exporters as well as 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,” said Halstrom. “USMEF thanks the parties for their flexibility and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su for making this matter a top priority.”

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West