The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) finally struck a tentative deal last week on a new six-year labor contract, marking a breakthrough after protracted negotiations that started when the previous contract expired in July 2022.
The positive progress is a relief for labor operations at the West Coast ports, bringing a much-needed close to over a year of deliberations and uncertainties. The new agreement offers stability to the supply chain and certainty to countless businesses and their employees, who depend on these West Coast ports’ seamless and effective functioning.
The West Coast ports are a critical artery for retailers and other businesses into the U.S. market. Quickly ratifying the tentative agreement will bring certainty back to the West Coast ports. It is essential to begin the negotiation process early for the next labor contract and avoid a future lapse in continuity.
In a concerted move in March, the Washington Retail (WR) Association joined forces with over 230 associations in a collective letter to President Biden, pressing the administration to collaborate with the negotiating parties and expedite the conclusion of their discussions.