Skip to main content

Despite a deadline of July 1, the ILWU and PMA have released a statement that no strikes or lockouts are looming. While they agree that an agreement won’t be ready by the deadline, the parties are progressing in their negotiations and will continue working past the date as negotiations proceed. The announcement comes at a welcome time considering the port and rail congestion, import surge, and preceding negotiation breakdowns that caused massive disruption. 

The negotiations are working on an agreement on the need for automation and accurately compensating dock workers who have been under constant difficulties through the pandemic; including social distancing, floods of imports, and triple-digit queues of ships waiting in San Pedro Bay. Both sides present the disruption as evidence they are due for advances in both pay and automation – automation would make the work easier for the longshoremen, but at the expense of a number of workers that would be rendered redundant due to the machinery.

After a number of negotiations that struggled during the last decade, the assurances from both the PMA and ILWU have been welcomed by all sides, including the Biden administration who spoke to both sides (while at the port) to discuss bringing down prices for shipping costs and dislodging rail congestion. 

Even with the assurances, welcome though they are, we at Coppersmith want to impart the importance of these negotiations. The continued throughput on the west coast ports is critical to the country and any lapses or disruption can have far-reaching consequences. We encourage both sides to expeditiously come to an agreement but applaud their commitment to working through the process to ensure continuity of service on the west coast. 

Part of dealing with delays is planning ahead to mitigate delays and issues that we can foresee popping up. Container imbalances might seem like just “part of doing business” but at Coppersmith, we know that advance notice, flexibility, and a strong logistics team in your corner can help you keep your cargo moving through the summer. 

Bobby Shaida

Author Bobby Shaida

More posts by Bobby Shaida