SAN FRANSISCO, August 2, 2017 - The Pacific Maritime Association says a majority of International Longshore and Warehouse Union have voted to approve a three-year contract extension that could ensure labor peace at West Coast ports into 2022. The ILWU said last week that it looked like the contract extension would be approved by about two-thirds of its members.
Ratification could come this week, the union said. The agreement will hopefully prevent work slowdowns the industry saw during 2014-2015, according to a PMA news release. The slowdown damaged agricultural exports and cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a letter sent by nine U.S. representatives to PMA and ILWU in April. The lawmakers urged PMA and ILWU to increase freight mobility and develop proactive solutions to prevent future slowdowns. The contract was set to expire in 2019. The vote would extend the labor pact to July 1, 2022. “This historic agreement will be great news for the maritime industry, as well as our customers, workers, port communities and the U.S. economy,” said PMA President James McKenna. “With this contract extension, the West Coast waterfront has a tremendous opportunity to attract more market share and demonstrate that our ports and workforce are truly world-class.”