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West Coast Port Union, Employers Reach Tentative Deal

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 20, 2023

© kgrif / Adobe Stock

© kgrif / Adobe Stock

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) said on Thursday it had reached a tentative agreement with an association representing the U.S. West Coast employers of port laborers on some key issues.

Negotiations over a new deal have dragged on for roughly a year since the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the union expired on July 1, 2022.

Any strike in the absence of a deal may prove costly as supply chain issues persist, and high inflation takes a toll on consumer spending, compounding challenges for many companies that are bouncing back from a pandemic slump.

In anticipation of a possible action, major shippers—including suppliers to retailers such as Walmart Inc and Home Depot Inc—have been diverting cargo from the West Coast to rival seaports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to avoid potential work stoppages.

Terms of the tentative agreement announced on Thursday were not disclosed, but the parties had previously struck a deal on terms for maintenance of health benefits.

The agreement that's being negotiated will cover more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports.

(Reuters - Reporting by Priyamvada C; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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