SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The members of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new five-year contract with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. The contract, if ratified by the ILWU, is retroactive to July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2019.
The contract features an enhanced arbitration system that is designed to support waterfront stability, capacity growth and productivity. This is especially important given the increasingly competitive environment West Coast ports face now and into the future from a variety of factors, including the long-anticipated opening of the expanded Panama Canal.
Health care changes maintained in the contract will foster greater efficiency, cost containment and fraud prevention for the long-term. To date, these efficiencies have already delivered significant savings to the health care plan. At the same time, ILWU members will continue to enjoy a very generous, employer-paid health care plan.
The agreement also features wage and pension increases for ILWU members.
“The West Coast ports are an economic engine for the United States, supporting millions of workers and trillions in economic impact,” said PMA President and CEO Jim McKenna. “The disruptions that occurred during negotiations, and the inconvenience and hardship created by them, were regrettable. We look forward to building upon the incredible advantages West Coast ports offer and winning back the trust and confidence of the shipping community. This contract provides important tools to accomplish that.”
The outcome of the ILWU ratification vote is expected by Friday, May 22.
The principal business of the PMA is to negotiate and administer maritime labor agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. This includes a coast-wide contract covering nearly 14,000 longshore, clerk and foreman workers at 29 ports along the West Coast, from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest. These ports drive nearly half of all maritime trade in the United States, including more than 70% of all imports from Asia. The PMA works on behalf of 72 member companies who are among the world’s leading shipping lines and terminal operators.