Potential West Coast Port Labor Disruptions Loom Large for Importers and Exporters, Including Those of FDA-Regulated Products

On July 1st, the contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) officially expired, increasing the potential of a work stoppage and cargo disruption at West Coast ports. Two months ago, the parties began contract negotiations to renew their six-year agreement and/or hopefully progress far enough to prevent any form of work stoppage. While ports continue to operate as scheduled, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued guidance to help industries prepare for the possible diversion of vessels and cargo.

In the past, negotiations have taken several weeks or even months after the contract expiration date to reach an agreement. In 2002, negotiations failed, and West Coast ports went on a 10-day strike, causing a variety of supply chain issues. More recently, in 2013, similar negotiations took place with workers at East Coast ports. There, a strike did not occur, though at times seemed likely. On the West Coast, the ILWU and PMA have pledged no cargo-handling disruption while negotiations continue. However, the parties did not extend the “no-strike clause” in their now-expired contract, leaving open the possibility of an organized strike.

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Topics:  Contract Negotiations, Customs and Border Protection, Exports, Imports, Longshoremen, Negotiations, Unions

Published In: General Business Updates, International Trade Updates, Labor & Employment Updates, Maritime Updates, Transportation Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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