Sources close to the West Coast longshore labor negotiations believe that a deal could materialize in August or September with little disruption on the docks. Those who agree with this sentiment said recent joint statements from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to keep cargo moving and operations normal at the ports “until an agreement can be reached” had eased concerns.

Others are skeptical and unconvinced the process will proceed smoothly despite intense pressure on both labor and management from the Biden administration to get a deal done without further slowing container flow through West Coast ports.

More than 150 trade associations wrote in a July 1 letter to President Joe Biden, “Even with the recent joint statement, supply chain stakeholders remain concerned about the potential for disruption, especially without a contract or an extension in place. Unfortunately, this concern stems from a long history of disruptions during previous negotiations.”

Among sources close to the talks however, there is a growing consensus that that the potential for large-scale disruption is fading as the two sides proceed deeper into the negotiations. Stakeholders are also reassured by ongoing, intensive engagement by Biden administration officials.

Risks do remain but optimistic stakeholders are assuming that major issues including automation and compensation can be resolved at the negotiating table.



Source: Journal of Commerce