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ILWU, PMA announce tentative agreement for West Coast ports

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su played a key role in helping reach the 6-year deal, which now goes to members for ratification


UPDATED with Thursday statement by ILWU President Willie Adams.

SAN FRANCISCO (June 15, 2023) — The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies at West Coast ports, announced a tentative agreement Wednesday on a new six-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports, including Seattle and Tacoma.

The deal was reached with assistance from Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su. The parties will not be releasing details of the agreement at this time. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties.

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

More than 22,000 ILWU members have been working under an expired contract since July 1, 2022.

On Thursday, Adams released the following statement:

The ILWU is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with PMA last night. While the final decision is up to our members, we feel our time at the bargaining table was well spent and that the agreement represents the hard work of our rank and file and the sacrifices they made during the pandemic.

“The next step for us is to follow our ratification procedures. This starts with a contract caucus that convenes delegates from our 29 locals up and down the West Coast. These delegates will carefully review the tentative agreement and make a recommendation to the rank and file who will then vote on the tentative agreement. This process takes a few months to complete.

“We will not be sharing details of the tentative agreement publicly until we have completed the ratification process.

“I want to thank all who worked so diligently on these negotiations along with a special thank you to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su whose leadership helped us cross the finish line.”

It was reported earlier this week that Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su had flown to San Francisco to meet with both the PMA and ILWU and remained in the city to collaborate with both sides of the negotiations, with a Port of Los Angeles official calling the labor negotiations “a top priority for the Biden Administration.”

In recent weeks, PMA representatives had complained of work slowdowns at the Port of Seattle and elsewhere, although there was disagreement on the extent of the disruptions.

The ILWU sought higher wages in the contract talks, arguing that dockworkers deserved a greater share of record profits made by shippers and terminal operators during the pandemic.

“ILWU workers risked and lost their lives during the pandemic to ensure grocery store shelves were stocked, PPE (health safety gear) was made available, essential medical supplies were reaching our hospitals, and record volumes of consumer goods continued to reach the door steps of American consumers,” read an ILWU statement on June 2.

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