Acting Labor Secretary Engages in Port Contract Negotiations

West Coast workers’ contract negotiations reach the 13th month of debate.

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su has been in California trying to broker a deal between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the unions of West Coast ports. She is in communication with both parties to facilitate an agreement on labor union contracts, which have been in negotiations for the past 13 months. L.A.-area ports bring in the most container shipments of any U.S. port, and its 22,000 workers have been limiting or stalling operations outright due to disagreements about wages and benefits.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark wrote to President Biden, “The best outcome is an agreement reached voluntarily by the negotiating parties. But we are concerned the current sticking point – an impasse over wages and benefits – will not be resolved.”

The union maintains that “carriers and terminal operators made historic profits of $510 billion during the pandemic“ but that “the percentage of ILWU wages and benefits continued to drop compared to PMA rising revenues.”

Though discussions have been long and drawn out, ILWU President Willie Adams emphasized that negotiations have not ceased and workers have not yet gone on strike. “West Coast ports are open as we continue to work under our expired collective bargaining agreement,” the union president said. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Acting Secretary Su as she tries to help the companies and unions come to an agreement.
  • For wisdom for U.S. commerce and labor officials as they provide input on negotiations.
  • For the president and administration officials as they seek to facilitate the contracts to ensure a stable supply chain.

Sources: Reuters, CNBC


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