The litany of shipping, transportation and business challenges that have impacted California ports in the past several years have caused significant concerns. This has stemmed from illnesses, delays and disputes. Through it all, workers have done their jobs and been an ingrained part of keeping these businesses operational. Businesses know the value of their workers, but when there is a possible labor dispute, it is vital that they are fully protected and can effectively address collective bargaining agreements. With West Coast dockworkers’ current labor contract set to expire in July, this is even more crucial now and will continue to be so in the future.
Negotiations are ongoing to try and avoid a strike
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is set to meet with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to try and hammer out an agreement and avoid a strike prior to the contract expiration. An estimated 22,000 workers are under contract. These disputes can be troublesome for companies during normal times. Currently, with the ongoing global problems, it may be worse. Backlogs are rampant, consumer demand is at an all-time high and delays are a continuing issue.
While the head of the ILWU expresses optimism that a deal can be reached, there are always obstacles with any labor negotiation and all sides need full preparation and protection regardless of the perspective. One concern that was mentioned is the rise in automation that can have an impact on workers and how they go about their duties. The previous contract was negotiated in 2014 and it took involvement from the White House to get it settled. Service was delayed into 2015. Given the current climate, that could be worse if the negotiations are not smooth. The chief executive of PMA gives a 50-50 chance of a settlement before the contract expires.
When people need assistance with this or any other aspect of maritime law, having assistance from those experienced in all areas of these cases is key.