Tentative agreement reached on West Coast port labor contract

by | Jun 15, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Last night, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced a tentative agreement on a six-year contract. The agreement, which covers all of the West Coast ports, brings an end to a year-long negotiation that recently turned sour.

Since June 1, work stoppages have slowed cargo movement and at times effectively shut down some container terminals. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom said the tentative contract agreement is tremendous news for U.S. red meat exporters and their overseas customers.

?This tentative agreement that’s been reached with the West Coast longshoremen is paramount of importance for us,? Halstrom said. ?It’s a huge percentage of our business, especially the value-added chilled business, which is our highest value business for both beef and pork. It goes off the west coast for our Asian markets: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China. These exporters and importers in these countries rely upon a certainty for stability in terms of their shipping logistics. And before this agreement was reached, there was a large level of uncertainty. Will my shipment be delayed; will it be passed over and skip a week? These are the sorts of things that were implied since a year ago when the contract expired. So, this is good news in a sense of restoring that certainty and reliability that we’re known for 52-week-a-year-business to these various ports in Asia.?

The tentative agreement is still awaiting ratification from both sides, which could take several weeks. However, a joint statement from both parties indicated that port operations are expected to return to normal. That statement can be found here.

For more information, visit usmef.org.