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VI Calls on Port Operators to Avoid Shutdown
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and their employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), have agreed to begin discussions on a contract extension that would avoid a shutdown of West Coast ports. The current contract covers 29 west coast ports and is set to expire on July 1, 2019. Although that may seem like plenty of time to work out a deal, shippers and transportation officials want to keep the pressure on port operators to prevent the sort of port shutdown that cost the economy billions in 2015.
Last month, VI joined a group of 125 trade organizations representing shippers and transportation organizations calling on the ILWU and PMA to begin contract negotiations immediately.
“You have both recognized the negative economic impact of disruptions and slowdowns that occurred during the last negotiations,” the letter read. “We believe starting negotiations early will help avoid a repeat of that experience.”
The letter was a follow up to similar correspondence sent in March.
“As we have previously stated, we believe a new model for future negotiations needs to be developed, one which stresses early and continuous dialogue. This should include a pledge by both parties to ensure there are no disruptions to cargo movement during negotiations.”