West Coast workers slow down without new contract, PMA says

According to the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members have decreased productivity at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after their previous waterfront contract expired on July 1st

According to the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) members have decreased productivity at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after their previous waterfront contract expired on July 1st.

Overall productivity was down 20% to 30% during the day shift on Tuesday, PMA said, as actions such as tractor drivers operating their vehicles slower than usual or delays while containers are placed on trucks have incrementally hampered operations.

According to PMA, ILWU often sanctions slowdowns to attempt to exert leverage in contract talks, a tactic employed in 2002 by the ILWU that eventually resulted in a halting of all port operations on the West Coast until the federal government intervened.

The West Coast ports generate nearly $1.3 trillion in domestic business, representing 11% of total U.S. GDP, while directly and indirectly supporting over 8 million U.S. jobs, PMA said.

“PMA and its member companies remain focused on reaching a labor agreement that is fair and reasonable to both sides and keeping the West Coast ports running smoothly as negotiations proceed,” the association said in a statement. “We look forward to a return to normal work-practice and a resumption of workplace processes consistent with the way the terminals run on a normal basis -- and the way the labor contract and arbitrators have dictated that they be run.”

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