Major cargo shippers and the union representing dockworkers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports have agreed to talks on a possible extension of their current contract, which is set to expire in mid-2019, the two sides said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Negotiators for the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union tentatively plan to meet on Nov. 1-2 to discuss the proposal, which comes about 19 months after a contract settlement that capped months of labor strife and shipping disruptions at the ports.”
The two sides said another statement may be issued afterward.
The current five-year contract, which expires on July 1, 2019, covers 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports handling nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of the country’s imports from Asia.
The February 2015 settlement of that contract, in a deal brokered with the help of U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and a federal mediator, capped months of labor tensions and increasing gridlock at the ports.
Severe cargo slowdowns, blamed by each side on the other amid pressure tactics during the last round of talks, reverberated across the U.S. commercial supply chain and snarled trans-Pacific trade in industries ranging from agriculture to automobiles.”
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