Port of Oakland Praises Signing of Maritime Labor Contract
May 25, 2015
PMA Signs Five-Year Contract with ILWU Workers
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents 29 ports along the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have signed a new 5-year maritime labor contract. The coast-wide agreement between PMA and ILWU covers approximately 13,600 employees in ports that handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and follows a massive labor dispute and port slowdown in January and February of this year that severely impacted agricultural exports.
Marilyn Sandifur, spokesperson for the Port of Oakland, said, “The port of Oakland is very pleased that this agreement has been signed; basically we thank both the PMA and ILWU for ratifying this new five-year labor contract. It’s important because now we can really focus on the work ahead of us."
"One of the things we have to do is improve service to our shippers so that we can remain an important trade gateway for them," Sandier stated. "You know after this big cargo slowdown, we really have to enhance the flow of cargo at the Oakland seaport. And I’m sure a lot of the other ports are feeling the same way—that we all have to improve cargo improvement and regain our shippers trust.
Sandifur commented, “Agriculture is really our biggest export category. It represents about 40 percent of the total value of exports through our seaport. Just to give you a few examples, think about the almonds grown in the Central Valley, citrus fruit or wine from northern California. Those are just a few of our major agriculture exports. So now that this contract has been ratified, we can all work on improving cargo flow through the seaport and getting agricultural goods moving again."