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West Coast Port Workers To Vote On Labor Agreement


This week, port workers along the West Coast will vote on whether to officially approve a new contract that will stave off labor disruptions and add much-needed certainty at the country's busiest cargo ports. 

The contract was tentatively agreed upon by labor leaders in June, but now membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union gets its turn to make it official. Full and final approval is expected in the fall, the Daily Breeze reported.

The agreement comes as shipping traffic has, in some cases, shifted to other ports with shippers looking to diversify the way they move goods after the bottlenecks of the early pandemic. The shift seemed to take some of the pressure off what have been among the tightest markets for industrial space in the nation. 

“The contract is the single biggest factor to reverse the dramatic shift toward the East and Gulf Coast,” S&P Global Market Intelligence Director of Transportation Consulting Paul Bingham told Transport Topics in June. Bingham added that not all of that lost cargo will return in full.

In June, the Port of Los Angeles posted its strongest performance in a year, just 5% off June 2022’s all-time record for twenty-foot-equivalent units, the measurement used to show the amount of shipping container goods coming into the port, according to the Port of LA

The six-year ILWU contract would apply to dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as well as 27 other West Coast ports. It would reportedly provide a 32% pay increase through 2028, along with a one-time “hero bonus” for working through the pandemic, according to the Daily Breeze. It must also be approved by the Pacific Maritime Association, the organization that represents terminal operators at the port.