With the longshore union contract for the US West Coast ports set to expire within days both the unions and the ports managers have stated that media reports that the ports were preparing for a possible strike or lockout were categorically untrue.
The International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) both said that discussions were continuing and that no actions were imminent.
In a rare joint statement on the progress of the talks, the union and the association admitted that they were “unlikely to reach a deal before the July 1st expiration of the current agreement”, but insisted that this was not unexpected and said that the talks would continue.
The 2014 contract negotiations extended into 2015 before an agreement was reached.
ILWU and PMA said in a joint statement that “this timing is typical, and cargo operations continue beyond the expiration of the contract. Neither party is preparing for a strike or a lockout, contrary to speculation in news reports. The parties remain focused on and committed to reaching an agreement.”
Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said that he was confident that an agreement would be reached without disruptions. “There are savvy negotiators on both sides of the table who understand what is at stake economically,” said Seroka.