ILOS ANGELES – The union representing West Coast dockworkers along with the Pacific Maritime Association are set to engage in talks exploring “the concept of a contract extension,” on Nov. 1 and 2, the two groups said today.
The tentatively scheduled meeting would cover a contract not set to expire until July 1, 2019 and impacting workers at 29 West Coast ports. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union represents about 20,000 dockworkers, while the PMA negotiates labor agreements on behalf of shippers and terminal operators.
The two groups said in their announcement that “a statement may be issued” following those talks but neither will engage in commentary ahead of November.
Delegates of the ILWU convened in August for a three-day meeting in which they voted in favor of moving forward with early contract talks with the PMA in a move applauded by many. Early talks could help ensure stability at the West Coast ports and avoid a repeat of the disastrous disruption that began in late 2014 and extended into early 2015 as the labor dispute dragged on and led to major congestion at the ports, crippling business for many retailers, apparel manufacturers and businesses across other industries.
The decision follows industry calls earlier this year for the two sides to convene well ahead of the contract expiration and engage in more continuous dialogue.