Members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have voted to ratify a new five-year contract with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU). The contract, if ratified by the ILWU, is retroactive to July 1, 2014 and runs through to June 30, 2019.
PTI previously reported that the PMA and ILWU had agreed on a five-year contract following the initial shutdown of more than 20 US West Coast (USWC) ports.
Although port operations returned to normal shortly after, strikes have recently returned, which could potentially cause more labour tension.
The contract includes an enhanced arbitration system that is designed to support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity.
This is especially important given the increasingly competitive environment USWC ports face now and into the future from a variety of factors, including the long-anticipated opening of the expanded Panama Canal.
Health care changes maintained in the contract will foster greater efficiency, cost containment and fraud prevention for the long-term.
To date, these efficiencies have already delivered significant savings to the health care plan. At the same time, ILWU members will continue to enjoy an employer-paid health care plan.
The agreement also includes wage and pension increases for ILWU members.
PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna, said: “The USWC ports are an economic engine for the US, supporting millions of workers and trillions in economic impact.
“The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable. We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages USWC ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”