Talks Begin on New West Coast Waterfront Labor Pact

For immediate release

Contacts: Steve Getzug, PMA, (310) 633-9444 (o), (213) 219-8990 (c)
Craig Merrilees, ILWU, (415) 775-0533, ext. 113 (o), (510) 774-5325 (c)

Talks Begin on New West Coast Waterfront
Labor Pact

SAN FRANCISCO (March 17, 2008) – The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) will begin negotiations today on a new waterfront labor contract.

The current six-year contract expires on July 1, 2008 and covers 25,000 ILWU-represented longshore workers at 29 west coast ports in California, Oregon and Washington. The PMA represents cargo carriers, terminal operators and stevedores operating on the west coast. The ILWU and PMA agreed to begin talks well ahead of the contract expiration to provide sufficient time to resolve key issues and concerns.

“Longshore workers are concerned about growing more good jobs for working families, improving safety conditions to reduce deaths and serious injuries, and pushing for cleaner air on the docks and communities where we live and work,” said ILWU President Bob McEllrath.

PMA President Jim McKenna said: “We’ve made progress since 2002 to improve productivity, which has enabled us to add jobs at the West Coast ports, handle a 45 percent cargo surge and transform the ports into an economic powerhouse that is now responsible for 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and more than 7 million American jobs. However, there is more work to do to increase efficiency and implement technology and other workplace innovations that will help the ports meet increasing national and international competition.’’

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