The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) were given an ultimatum by the U.S. Labor Secretary, Tom Perez on Thursday, February 19 to reach a contract by Friday, February 20 or negotiations will be moved to Washington, D.C.
Negotiators for both parties are reviewing the latest contract proposal and counter proposal with the intention of resuming the face to face negotiations today (February, 20, 2015). As the port terminals and marine carriers have been warning the West Coast port congestion is nearing gridlock, Perez’s comments are the latest initiative from the White House to increase pressure on both parties to come to a final decision. The White House held back from getting directly involved in the talks between both sides for months, but since the ILWU and PMA have not reached an agreement and delays are at a boiling point, President Obama sent Perez to negotiations in California on Tuesday.
The major port congestions are affecting major retailers who are reporting they may face major delays with their spring inventory.
The PMA are likely thinking the pressure coming from Washington, D.C. will be to their advantage as ILWU had, at first, resisted the participation of a federal mediator in early January.
We will continue to update you with the latest information on the West Coast negotiations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office to discuss further.