- The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) met for just a day on November 1st in San Francisco in hopes of agreeing on a contract extension, Longshore & Shipping News reported Tuesday.
- The current collective bargaining agreement covering 29 west coast ports expires on July 1, 2019.
- The last conflict between the PMA and the ILWU lasted over a year, with workers on slowdown for the final four months of the negotiations.
The two organizations refused to provide details on what was discussed during the talks or why they were stopped short, but various sources speculate contentious issues, such as ILWU jurisdiction and benefits, may have been brought up again too soon after the contentious nine month talks that left the West Coast in economic straits last year.
Taking into account the length of last year's talks, few would have predicted the talks to end with an agreement in place, but the fact the talks were cut short was cause for concern. The contract is not set to expire for another three years, during which time the organization must agree on wages and benefits. It is also likely that those conversations would be postponed to a closer date as the associations watch industry trends.
Regardless, the two organizations agreed to another round of talks so all is not lost, and ports, longshoremen, retailers and even legislators have all expressed interest in the quick resolution of the contract negotiations.