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Navigating union and labor disputes in the maritime industry

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Maritime Law |

Operating a maritime business can be complicated. With supply chain problems, weather-related challenges, worldwide obstacles and other issues, it can be difficult to handle everything efficiently. One concern that has been ongoing is union and labor disputes.

Negotiations are often difficult and even if a company is not involved in a back and forth with a labor union, it can get caught in the middle of ongoing disagreements between other entities.

Union decision to hold back workers

A recent decision by a dockworkers union gives an indication as to what maritime businesses can face as they try to operate. The union withheld its workers and, for all intents and purposes, had the entire Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles shut down because of it.

The catalyst is the ongoing labor dispute between International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). This meant that there were no workers to load and unload cargo.

Some workers did come to work, but since there were too few workers to do all the necessary operations, they were sent home.

The ports are integral to business operations across the United States as a key cog in the supply chain. Companies like Home Depot and Walmart have needed to use alternative seaports in other areas to keep their operations moving smoothly.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and hundreds of other trade associations have asked the White House to intervene in the situation to try and settle it.

Businesses relying on ports should be prepared for labor difficulties

Whether it is a direct negotiation between a maritime or transportation company and a union or dealing with the fallout of stagnant negotiations between other entities, it is wise to have professional assistance in navigating these complexities and keeping a business in operation with limited or no interruption.

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