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West Coast Dockworkers Ratify Contract

Late last week, West Coast dockworkers voted to ratify a long-term employment contract that was agreed upon earlier this summer, The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: Approximately 75% of International Longshore and Warehouse Union members voted in favor of the six-year labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association.

  • This ratification vote formalizes the tentative agreement reached in June, which was preceded by several brief work stoppages, and is the culmination of negotiations that began in May 2022.
  • “The ILWU represents about 22,000 workers at 29 ports from California to Washington state.”

Why it’s important: These negotiations, which ultimately took 14 months to resolve, were at times tumultuous, and the resulting supply chain disruptions led to a significant loss of West Coast cargo business to the East and Gulf coasts.

  • Together the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach constitute the busiest ocean trade gateway in the U.S., handling almost 40% of U.S. imports from Asia, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The NAM consistently advocated for a resolution to these talks and commissioned an economic impact study in 2022 that found even a 15-day shuttering of these two West Coast ports would cost the U.S. economy nearly half a billion dollars a day and 41,000 jobs.

The NAM says: “Ratification of this six-year contract provides manufacturers with the supply chain reliability they need for operational planning and stability,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure and Labor Policy Ben Siegrist.

  • “NAM members have overcome countless shipping challenges over the past few years and were at the forefront of calling for this resolution. We are pleased the contract has been ratified.”
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