NEWS FLASH: ILWU members approve 5-year labor contract
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said 82 percent of its members voted in favor of ratification.Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have approved a new five-year labor contract agreement. The union said in a statement 82 percent of its members voted in favor of the agreement.
Employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association approved the contract, which covers approximately 20,000 workers at 29 ports on the West Coast, on Wednesday. PMA represents 72 employers, including cargo carriers, terminal operators and stevedores.
The ILWU and PMA began bargaining on May 12, 2014, and did not reach a tentative settlement until February 20 this year, when approval was recommended unanimously by the union’s 16-member elected negotiating committee and 8-member safety sub-committee.
A vote of approval was recommended to union members on April 3 after 90 delegates to the ILWU's Coast Longshore Caucus spent a week reviewing the proposed agreement line-by-line. Seventy-eight percent of the caucus members recommended approval of the labor deal.
The new agreement will expire on July 1, 2019. The previous contract was ratified in 2008 with a vote of 75 percent in favor.
Voting results were certified today by the ILWU’s Coast Balloting Committee, which was chosen by Coast Longshore Caucus delegates elected from each of the 29 West Coast ports.
"The negotiations for this contract were some of the longest and most difficult in our recent history,” said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath. “Membership unity and hard work by the Negotiating Committee made this fair outcome possible.”
PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna said of the announcement, "This contract provides an important framework for the hard work ahead to overcome new competitive challenges and to continue to position the West Coast ports as destinations of choice for shippers worldwide. From San Diego to Bellingham, these ports have long been the primary gateways for cargo coming into and leaving the United States, and our interests are aligned in ensuring they can effectively, and efficiently, handle the capacity growth that drives economies and jobs.’’
The union said the contract will maintain excellent health benefits; improve wages, pensions and job safety protections; limit outsourcing of jobs; and provide an improved system for resolving job disputes.
The ILWU has not posted a copy of the contract on its website, but a copy of the agreement was posted on the blog longshore-labor-relations.com. It shows most members receiving increases of $1 to $1.50 per hour in each of the five years covered by the agreement, which is retroactive to July 1, 2014.