At the top of every logistics professional’s mind is…what will the International Longshore & Warehouse Union’s (ILWU) contract negotiations bring this summer? Slowdowns? Disruptions? Disputes? Surprises? Cooperation? Government involvement?

We will find out soon enough. The two sides are scheduled to begin negotiations on May 12th.

By all accounts, automation will be the sticking point. The employers, terminal operators and ocean carriers, desperately need to densify operations in order to keep up with growing cargo volumes. The union sees automation as a threat to their membership. We are hopeful the concept of a “rising tide lifts all boats” will win out. Any disruption on the west coast will lead to more cargo and vessel diversions, and we will not have the necessary rising tide to keep both sides happy.

Also notable, there is a bill in the US Senate to define labor slowdowns, attempts to block modernization and refusal to work vessels an “unfair labor practice.” The legislation has been labeled the Prevent Labor Union Slowdowns (PLUS) Act.

We will keep you posted on the negotiations as well as the legislation.


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