Update: Labor Deal Back on at West Coast Port

Update: The West Coast port deal that seemed threatened by a group of holdouts was finally ratified by said dissenters late last week, about two weeks after holdout labor organizations shockingly voted against ratification.

While all seemed well on the shipping front with a (tentative) December labor deal on the West Coast followed by early this month on the East Coast, a wrench has been thrown into a California deal. The pact involving the parties associated with the busy Los Angeles/Long Beach port – the International Longshoremen’s Association and Union’s Local 63 Office Clerical Unit and the Harbor Employers Association – was delayed after clerical workers for three organizations rejected the contract over additional concession demands. Said contract had been agreed to by a total of 12 organization representing port workers following a costly, eight-day work stoppage that stretched into early December, the peak shipping season based on holiday-related retail demand.

The National Retail Federation, which was extremely critical of the parties for failing to come to a deal before the December disruption, pleaded publicly since early February ratification failure that they parties needed to avoid another work stoppage through the duration of the newly revisited dispute and potential restart of negotiation. The December work stoppage in Los Angeles/Long Beach resulted in 75% of the largest U.S. port's capabilities being shut down for just over a week. Some estimates noted that upwards of $1 billion in goods per day were blocked during the dispute.

-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer

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