Ongoing West Coast Labor Disputes Shut Down & Disrupt Terminal Operations
June 5, 2023 | The Toy Association is closely monitoring the situation of the West Coast ports in the U.S and Canada where ongoing labor disputes and stagnant contract agreements between dockworkers and their employers are resulting in workers threatening to strike, terminal operation disruptions, and port shut downs.
TTI, the largest terminal at the Port of Long Beach, was closed today and terminal operations at the Ports of Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle, and Hueneme were severely impacted last Friday. These latest disruptions come as the U.S. International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have failed to reach a new labor agreement after more than a year of negotiations.
While the parties had reached a tentative agreement on some key issues back in April, such as automation, there are still several issues that have yet to be resolved, including agreements on pay and benefits. The latest reports state that negotiations broke down over the issue of compensation last week.
Through a coalition letter signed in April by more than 230 trade groups and businesses, including The Toy Association, The National Retail Federation is reasserting its call to the Biden Administration to intervene and resolve this ongoing dispute.
The ILWU Canadian counterpart has issued a strike vote notice that would halt operations at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert — the largest and third-largest ports in Canada, respectively. Both ports are integral to U.S. cargo as both have direct rail services to Chicago.
In March, a week before ILWU Canada’s contract was set to expire, the bargaining committee filed a dispute with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS) against the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) due to “no meaningful progress” in discussions to renew the collective agreement. Issues in contention include pay and automation of cargo-handling equipment.
The Toy Association continues to monitor the situation closely and will remain engaged to keep members updated as negotiations continue.