Dock­work­ers vote to ex­tend con­tract to ’22

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Alexa D’An­gelo alexa.d’an­gelo@la­times.com

Dock­work­ers on the West Coast ap­proved a con­tract ex­ten­sion on Fri­day, two years be­fore it was set to ex­pire.

The In­ter­na­tional Long­shore and Ware­house Union said 67% of its 20,000 mem­bers at 29 ports in Cal­i­for­nia, Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton voted for ex­tend­ing the con­tract with the Pa­cific Mar­itime Assn. to July 1, 2022. The pre­vi­ous agree­ment was set to ex­pire July 1, 2019.

The con­tract en­sures an in­crease in wages and pen­sions and main­tains health ben­e­fits, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

“The rank-and-file mem­ber­ship has made their de­ci­sion and ex­pressed a clear choice,” Robert McEll­rath, In­ter­na­tional Long­shore Ware­house Union in­ter­na­tional pres­i­dent, said in a state­ment. “The demo­cratic process al­lowed us to make a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion and ar­rive at the best choice un­der the cir­cum­stances.”

The agree­ment comes three years af­ter con­tentious ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the par­ties re­sulted in a back­log of cargo ships out­side the har­bors.

“This first-of-its-kind con­tract ex­ten­sion is great news for the mar­itime in­dus­try and the na­tion, set­ting the stage for re­li­able and pro­duc­tive cargo op­er­a­tions for years to come,” Pa­cific Mar­itime Assn. Pres­i­dent James McKenna said in a state­ment.

The con­tract ap­proval is a con­trast to 2014, when ne­go­ti­a­tions didn’t start un­til May and the con­tract lapsed in July. An agree­ment was reached in Fe­bru­ary 2015. Port con­ges­tion from the spat posed a threat to re­tail sup­ply chains, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion.

“No­body wants to see a re­peat of the prob­lems that were ex­pe­ri­enced in 2014-2015, and this re­mark­able sign of good faith on the part of both la­bor and man­age­ment en­sures that such a sit­u­a­tion will be avoided,” Jonathan Gold, vice pres­i­dent for sup­ply chain and cus­toms pol­icy at the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion, said in a state­ment.

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