While the ongoing labor negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) ostensibly going from bad to worse, following the ILWU’s announcement late last week that it was halting negotiations from November 20 through November 30, a Congressional group last week penned a letter to PMA and ILWU leadership expressing concern over the state of the negotiations. The PMA and ILWU contract expired on July 1, and talks between the PMA and ILWU have been ongoing since May 12.
The Congressional group, entitled the Congressional PORTS Caucus, which is comprised of 90 members of Congress, explained to ILWU President Robert McEllrath and PMA Chairman and CEO James McKenna that heading into this holiday season, U.S. ports are already dealing with issues such as bigger incoming ships, chassis shortages, and deficient roads in U.S. freight gateways.
“These underlying factors have already caused congestion at many of our West Coast ports and any factors that have potential to exacerbate this congestion will further impact the entire supply chain across the United States,” wrote the Congressional PORTS Caucus. “A fair and equitable conclusion on the ongoing West Coast Labor negotiations would allow the stakeholders to work together to formulate solutions to our West Coast labor negotiation.”
The letter added that West Coast ports serve as a vital gateway for shipping American-made products around the world and also urged the PMA and ILWU to continue negotiations in good faith and work to address outstanding issues to reach a mutually agreeable solution. This letter is the most recent one calling for a solution to what has become a lengthy conflict.
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