The union representing West Coast port workers is expected to vote on a new contract Friday that could finally put an end to tensions with terminal operators that had resulted in a widespread slowdown earlier this year.
The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents 72 cargo carriers, terminal operators and dockworkers, said late Wednesday it ratified the contract.
Up next is the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, which is set to vote Friday.
The five-year contract would run through June 30, 2019, retroactive to July 1, 2014, and includes an “enhanced arbitration system” along with a boost in pay and pensions.
If ratified by the ILWU, the new contract would lay to rest — at least until 2019 — the headache that occurred earlier this year at the West Coast ports. The slowdown led to major delays for retailers and manufacturers as millions of dollars of products and materials were held hostage on ships as a result of the shortage of workers available to unload the containers. Some companies report they’re still being affected by the backlog, although operations for the most part are close to normal.
“The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable,” PMA president and chief executive officer Jim McKenna said. “We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”