Skip to main content

ILWU, PMA Promise No West Coast Port Disruptions Despite No New Contract

The six-year labor contract for West Coast port dockworkers expired Tuesday at 5 p.m., and although a new contract has yet to be settled, both sides claim there will be no disruptions at the ports.

In a joint statement released Tuesday by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents the dockworkers, and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents employers who operate the port terminals and shipping lines, the negotiators said talks about the contract covering 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports will continue to move forward.

There will be no contract extension, but the ILWU and PMA said cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached.

Cherry Donaldson, operations manager at freight forwarding firm Aqualine International Inc., which processes goods through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, said she doesn’t think things will move as smoothly as the two sides say as current work slowdowns have already caused major delays.

“I think things will be how they are right now,” she said. “Slow, a lot of congestion, and hopefully no lockout.”

According to the negotiators’ statement, “Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they support.”