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Dockworkers shut US West Coast terminals as negotiations continue



Dockworkers on the United States West Coast have taken industrial action over wage disputes, causing important operation difficulties at major container ports in California.


On 2 June, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is staging concerted and disruptive work actions that have effectively shut down operations at some marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, said Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents the world's leading shipping lines and terminal operators, in a statement.


"The Union is also staging similar work actions that have shut down or severely impacted terminal operations at the Ports of Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, and Hueneme," added PMA.


Willie Adams, president of ILWU, a labor union representing dock workers on the West Coast of the US, Hawaii, and British Columbia, Canada, stated, "We arent going to settle for an economic package that doesnt recognise the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits."


ILWU claims that PMA member carriers and terminal operators made historic profits of US$510 billion during the pandemic, while union workers risked and lost their lives during the same period "to ensure grocery store shelves were stocked, personal protective equipment (PPE) was made available, medical supplies were reaching hospitals, and record volumes of consumer goods continued to reach the door steps of American consumers while also enabling the shipping industriesastronomical revenues."


ILWU went on to highlight that "despite this fact, from pre-pandemic levels through 2022, the percentage of ILWU wages and benefits continued to drop compared to PMA rising revenues."


The ILWU said it is "committed to bargaining a contract that is fair and equitable, including wages and benefits that reflect the dedication of the ILWU workforce and its contributions to the shipping industrys success."


"Any reports that negotiations have broken down are false," pointed out Willie Adams, as the ILWU and PMA continue to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement.


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