PMA, ILWU Reach Tentative Six-Year Deal

Labor Agreement Ends Months of Contentious Negotiations
Containers at Port of Los Angeles
Containers are stacked at the Port of Los Angeles on June 6. (Eric Thayer/Bloomberg News)

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After nearly a year of negotiations and with help from the Department of Labor, a tentative six-year agreement has been reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the 22,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The agreement signals an end to months of uncertainty over the status of negotiations at 29 West Coast ports and warehouse facilities.

“Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the leadership of the ILWU and the PMA, the tentative agreement delivers important stability for workers, for employers and for our country’s supply chain,” acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said in a June 14 statement. “This important milestone is welcome news to all, and on behalf of President Biden, we are pleased to congratulate both parties on what they have achieved.”

The Labor Department helped broker the talks, as Su traveled to San Francisco to aid in the negotiations. She added in her statement that the agreement is another indication that the collective bargaining process works, even when it is difficult.

Julie Su


Transportation leaders are breathing a sigh of relief after the settlement was reached.

“The tentative agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association brings the stability and confidence that customers have been seeking. We’re grateful to acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, ILWU International President Willie Adams and PMA President James McKenna for their leadership and resolve.

“We look forward to collaborating with our partners in a renewed effort to bring back cargo and demonstrate why Los Angeles is the first choice for transpacific trade,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Eugene Seroka said in a statement.



The container ports on the West Coast have seen a significant drop in cargo traffic as a result of the slow pace of the talks. Shippers have been shifting freight to East Coast ports, including New York and New Jersey, Savannah, Charleston and Virginia because of the labor stalemate.

Biden said sending Su to her home state of California, where she was a top labor official before joining his administration, was key to getting the talks over the finish line. Biden said Su “used her deep experience and judgment to keep the parties talking, working with them to reach an agreement after a long and sometimes acrimonious negotiation.”

The agreement is subject to ratification by the union’s rank-and-file members. Both sides declined to provide details on the deal.

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