The West Coast longshore contract expires June 30 of this year. While negotiations have yet to begin, the logistics community is on pins and needles. There is concern disruptions will occur as the two sides, ILWU and PMA, work out the contract.
Many issues will be discussed, but two of the hottest will be jurisdiction…especially over maintenance and chassis…and how the two sides will deal with the fact the ILWU’s “Cadillac” healthcare plan will now be taxed under the Affordable Care Act.
We’re not sure if we take solace in the fact that Oakland is not alone in its troubles or not. The Port of Baltimore suffered through a three-day longshore labor strike last month. As you may recall, this past spring, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) ratified their coast-wide master contract covering all the ports on the east and gulf coasts. After the master contract was signed, local contracts involving the work and rules of specific ports were still being negotiated. One such negotiation was between the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore and ILA Local 333. ILA members rejected the latest contract offer and went on strike. An arbitrator was called in, and it was ruled the strike violated the no strike clause in the master contract. Workers had to return to the docks on October 18th for at least a 90-day negotiation period.