White House hails progress made in US west coast port contract negotiations

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Source: Splash 24/7

The White House has hailed progress made in California this week to resolve the impasse between dockworkers and employers at US west coast ports.

Under pressure from a host of business groups, president Joe Biden sent his acting labor secretary, Julie Su, to San Francisco on Monday for talks with employers group, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

The PMA and ILWU agreed to a truce yesterday, with dockworkers saying they will return to normal working hours through to the end of this week as negotiations continue over a stalled new contract.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters yesterday that the two sides had “overcome some sticking points” with Su, who worked previously as secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, appearing to be having some success in bringing a solution to the labour impasse.

Aside from Seattle, conditions at the ports along the US west coast look manageable at present, according to Andy Lane, who runs container advisory CTI Consultancy.

“It’s still not too bad on the west coast,” Lane told Splash today, 12 days from when sporadic industrial action started to take place at a host of terminals. “Los Angeles and Long Beach seem to be keeping pace with demand. Oakland has completed six ships over the past two days, but has six alongside working, two waiting, and six more on the way.”

Lane described Seattle as the “hotspot” where there have been four ships alongside and working for more than five days, and one ship, the 4,496 teu Maersk Cairo, alongside for more than 10 days with five ships waiting and one more visibly on the way.

North of the border, unionised dockworkers have agreed to a 72-hour walkout at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, likely scheduled for the end of this month, adding impetus to the Biden administration’s efforts to resolve the US’s own port labour issues quickly.


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