Union votes to approve West Coast port contract

Will assure stable operations for next four years
Posted on May 22, 2015 by Jay McIntosh

SAN FRANCISCO — Assuring stability at West Coast ports for another four years, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said today that its members voted by an 82% margin to approve a tentative contract agreement reached in February.

Earlier, the Pacific Maritime Association, a coalition of the operators of 29 West Coast ports, also formally endorsed the agreement, is retroactive from July 2014 and which will expire on July 1, 2019.

"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."

The agreement affects about 20,000 jobs. The union said it "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.

In an earlier statement, the PMA said the agreement would bring changes to the health-care plan intended to foster greater efficiency, cost containment and fraud prevention for the long term; and an enhanced arbitration system designed to support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity.

"We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community," said Jim McKenna, PMA president and CEO. "This contract provides important tools to accomplish that."