With the contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) set to expire on June 30, 2014, cargo owners shipping through US West Coast gateways are getting anxious. The first meeting between the two sides is scheduled to take place soon, and the union will be submitting their wish list. At the top of the list will be jurisdiction, automation and who will pay the tax levied by the Affordable Care Act on their “Cadillac” healthcare plan.
The general consensus among industry insiders is that while the contract will be renegotiated without major incident, the main issues will not be decided upon easily or quickly. A new contract will not likely be completed prior to the expiration of the current contract, and we will see a 90-day contract extension while negotiations continue. We will continue to keep you posted.