ILWU and PMA Reach Health Care Agreement
The ILWU and PMA announced late Tuesday an agreement has been reached for the health care portion of the 2014 contract negotiations. Many consider the agreement to be a positive sign of progress towards a contract for the West Coast longshore negotiations. The ILWU and PMA have been negotiating since May.
Ahead of the negotiations, U.S. importers and exporters altered their shipping schedules to avoid any potential delays and costs in their supply chains. According to the JOC, “Tens of thousands of containers diverted away from the West Coast ports have created a real disruption of their own, in the form of heavy delays at alternate gateways such as Vancouver and Prince Rupert on the Canadian west coast, and to a lesser extent parts on the U.S. East Coast.”
Despite minor hiccups in the way of short-lived pickets by Teamsters at the Los Angeles-Long Beach ports as well as the protest at the Zim terminal in Oakland, West Coast ports have seen minimal disruptions or work stoppages as a result of the ILWU and PMA contract negotiations. However, these ports are very congested as it is peak season shipping season.
The details of the health care agreement have not been made public. It is unclear if the ILWU and PMA have decided to opt for a three year deal, which would end before the Obamacare tax goes into effect. If this is the case, the health care portion of the contract would have to be re-negotiated at that time.
Journal of Commerce: