The union representing West Coast dockworkers and their employers on Monday reached a tentative agreement on a key component of the stalled labor talks that threaten to cripple cargo movement at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents employers at 29 ports, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 dockworkers, have agreed on the issue of repairing and maintaining the trailers that are vital to moving cargo containers in and out of Los Angeles, Long Beach and other West Coast ports.
A spokesman for the PMA confirmed the tentative agreement Monday. “The hope is that talks will now progress more quickly and that a coast-wide contract can be reached,” said PMA spokesman Steve Getzug.
Getzug declined to comment further on the issue surrounding the trailers, also called chassis.
An ILWU spokesman declined to comment, only to say that talks are underway now and continuing this week.
This tentative agreement, a sticking point in negotiations, could be a sign that both sides may reach a resolution to contract talks that have lasted for eight months. The last contract, which spanned six years, ended in July.
Although both sides last summer came to an agreement on health benefits, talks have intensified in the past several months, with both sides accusing each other of causing slowdowns at the ports.
The PMA blamed the union for not dispatching enough skilled crane operators to move containers out of terminal yards, forcing employers to make the business decision of suspending ship unloading shifts at night in favor of clearing the yards.
Getzug echoed that sentiment Monday.
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