We have good news to report: It looks like the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) will approve a three-year contract extension, thereby, taking the contract out to July 1, 2022. While it is not official, the voting is strongly in favor of the extension (67% pro, 33% against). The union expects to formally ratify the contract extension soon.
There has been quite a bit of focus on both the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) contract expiration dates. The ILWU’s contract, which covers the entire US west coast, was originally set to expire on July 1, 2019. The ILA’s contract, which covers the US east and gulf coasts, is scheduled to expire September 30, 2018.
Given the back-to-back expiration dates and the fact negotiations go far beyond the last day of the contract, both labor contracts could have been in negotiations at the same time. Historically, labor negotiations have had a negative impact on the fluidity of container flows.
Disruptions on both coasts, at the same time, could have had catastrophic consequences for US exporters and importers. As such, it is no surprise serious angst was developing throughout all industry segments.
Thanks to both the ILWU and PMA for getting this extension done and continuing our relative peace on the west coast waterfront for another five years. Whew!