New Labor Agreement Reached for West Coast Ports

The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Feb. 23, 2015 announced a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports. The parties will not be releasing details of the agreement at this time. While the agreement is subject to ratification by both parties, a process which could take as long as a month. However, work will start immediately to address the backlog of cargo ships that has accumulated at the ports.

Work slowdowns at the ports, plus the elimination of night shifts and weekend shifts over President’s Day weekend are believed to have cost the national economy billions of dollars. Combined, the 29 West Coast ports handle roughly one-fourth of U.S. international trade, worth $1 trillion per year. U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez traveled to California last week to meet with the parties to help them reach a resolution.

TIA joined a coalition of concerned industries in advocating for a swift resolution to the labor negotiations following expiration of the previous contract in July 2014. In November, this industry coalition submitted a letter to President Obama requesting federal intervention and mediation in the negotiations, citing concerns over the economic impacts of the cargo backlog. If you have questions about the issues surrounding the West Coast port negotiations, please contact Will Sehestedt at or 703-299-5713.