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No Contract In Sight Between PMA and ILWU as Accusations Surface

On Monday, November 3rd, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) released a statement accusing the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) of “orchestrating slowdowns at the Pacific Northwest ports of Seattle and Tacoma”.

PMA claims the following:

  • Slowdowns that began on October 31st, at the two above mentioned ports, with terminal productivity being reduced by 40 – 60%. The PMA states that these two terminals typically move 25-35 containers per hour, and are now moving at a reduced pace of 10 – 18 per hour.
  • Port of Tacoma is not filling orders for skilled workers
  • “The ILWU has refused to agree to a temporary contract extension – which they have agreed to during past negotiations”. The PMA points out that the contract extension would give both parties access to an established grievance procedure that finds slowdowns on the waterfront to be impermissible.

“We are calling upon the ILWU to cease its slowdowns and agree to a temporary contract extension while we negotiate a new contract”, stated Wade Gates – spokesperson for PMA.

The response from the ILWU states that a temporary agreement could not be made, “given the parties’ historic disagreement regarding the definition of “normal operations” – a disagreement that has been the subject of arbitrations for decades.”

The ILWU news release also states that the PMA used “early pressure tactics”, which include “secretly trying to shift away thousands of ocean container chassis traditionally handled and maintained by longshore workers and refusing to bargain a training program that properly trains longshore workers and prevents non-qualified workers from operating dangerous equipment”.

The ILWU sites the three factors for congestion as, a change in the business model related to truck chassis, a shortage of truck drivers and a shortage of rail car capacity. The ILWU has called for talks to resume on Wednesday November 5th.

MIQ Logistics will continue to monitor this situation closely and will track updates on our Ocean Freight Forwarding Market Update page, as they become available.

For more information, please contact your local MIQ Logistics representative.