A resolution to the long-running contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) looked further away than ever yesterday (Thursday) as 29 US West Coast ports suspended cargo operations and the two sides released sharply contradicting accounts of events.
The ports will be fully operational today (Friday) but suspended again on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which is a US national holiday. PMA members concluded that, on those dates, they would be paying increased holiday rates to full shifts of ILWU workers despite severely diminished productivity, while the backlog of cargo at West Coast ports grows.
PMA spokesperson Wade Gates said: “Last week, PMA made a comprehensive contract offer designed to bring these talks to conclusion. The ILWU responded with demands they knew we could not meet and continued slowdowns that will soon bring West Coast ports to gridlock.”