The International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted to ratify a six-year contract agreement with the Pacific Maritime Association yesterday.
The union, which covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 ports across the West Coast, voted 75% in favor to approve the tentative contract agreement that was reached in June.
PMA said in a statement the contract became retroactive on July 1, 2022 and will expire on July 1, 2028. The contract has also been approved by PMA member companies, including Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC, ONE and others.
“The negotiations for this contract were protracted and challenging,” ILWU International President Willie Adams said in a statement. “I am grateful to our rank and file for their strength, to our Negotiating Committee for their vision and tenacity, and to those that supported giving the ILWU and PMA the space that we needed to get to this result.”
Approval of the contract comes after more than 13 months of negotiations that involved numerous port disputes and closures, as well as fears of a strike that could have snarled domestic supply chains.
The two parties began negotiating for a new master contract in May 2022, but longshore workers and port terminals have been working without an active contract since the old working agreement expired last July.
“This contract provides an important framework for the hard work ahead to overcome new competitive challenges and to continue to position the West Coast ports as destinations of choice for shippers worldwide,” PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna said in a statement. “From San Diego to Bellingham, these ports have long been the primary gateways for cargo coming into and leaving the United States, and our interests are aligned in ensuring they can effectively, and efficiently, handle the capacity growth that drives economies and jobs.”