„The Toy Association welcomes the news of the extension of the ILWU-PMA contract. The approval signals greater stability for U.S. toy companies that rely on West Coast ports to ensure their products are delivered on time,“ said Rebecca Mond, Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs at the Toy Association. „We hope this vote will put pressure on East Coast ports to enter into their own agreement as their coastal contract expires in 2018.“ In 2002, jawing began months before the two sides even sat down to negotiate. The biggest problem in these negotiations has been the computerization of port operations, which has affected both navy officials and other port employees. The PMA and ILWU continued to go back and forth, both to the table and to the press, until the PMA locked up the dockers for 10 days. President George W. Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, the ports resumed operations, and negotiations lasted until December 2002, when a new treaty was signed.  To avoid the crippling effects of work slowdowns and work stoppages that occurred during the 2014-2015 negotiations, the ILWU approved after a vote in which every registered coastal worker on the West Coast had the opportunity to submit a three-year contract extension until July 2022.
 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (August 4, 2017) – The ILWU Coastal Voting Committee confirmed today that West Coast coastal workers have formally ratified a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) at 29 ports in California, Oregon and Washington. In the past, concerns about the displacement and replacement of workers by robotics had led the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), a union representing mainly dockers on the west coast of the United States, to enter into bitterly contested negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) against any form of automation. Over time, however, concessions have been made to carefully introduce automation into North America`s busiest ports. The intention to build a fourth automated terminal at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has experts fearing that the upcoming renegotiation of the ILWU-PMA treaty in mid-2022 will be the most controversial to date. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association said exploratory talks on expanding contacts are tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1-2. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents ILWU employers, said they had „agreed to discuss the concept of a contract extension.“ The talks were tentatively scheduled for 1 and 2 November. The current contract includes approximately 20,000 members of the ILWU Longshoremen Division working in 29 West Coast ports and expires on July 1, 2019. Last month, a group of 128 trade organizations representing shippers and transportation organizations joined forces to urge the ILWU and AMP to begin contract negotiations quickly. „We applaud your organizations for considering an extension of the current contract.
However, we now ask you to accept the requests and start negotiations,“ they said in a letter sent on August 8. It was sent to ILWU President Robert McEllrath and PMA President and CEO James McKenna. The letter was signed by manufacturers, farmers and agro-industries, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics service providers and other stakeholders in the supply chain. The shipper groups that signed the letter included the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the National Retail Federation, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while transportation groups that signed it included the American Trucking Associations and the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America. On August 11, ILWU delegates voted for the union to enter into talks with representatives of the Pacific Maritime Association to discuss a contract extension. Negotiations on the current contract began on March 12, 2014 and lasted almost a year until March 20, 2014. February 2015, when an agreement was finally reached.
During these contentious negotiations, the employers accused the union of slowing down and the union accused the employers of holding workers back and reducing working hours. Cargo at the docks and dozens of ships anchored off the west coast, waiting to arrive at the berth to unload and load cargo. It was not until May 22, 2015 that the treaty was ratified by ILWU members, almost a year after the previous treaty expired. As ILWU-PMA contract negotiations begin in 2022, shippers are worried about what the scramble between the two companies could mean for business and shipping times. Combined with the already congested ports and the upcoming 2021 peak season, companies are investing heavily in the search for solutions to diversify their port strategy. Despite the early start – PMA and ILWU sat down at the table in mid-March 2008 – negotiators again missed the contract deadline. While there was no lockout this time around, slowdowns were reported until a new deal was reached in August.  The Toy Association signed several letters from the industry in support of the contract extension and the vote. From 2014 to 2015, West Coast ports received significant support as a result of ILWU/PMA contract negotiations, resulting in delays during the peak shipping season that hurt many toy companies. The two parties are expected to begin contract negotiations in the spring. The fuel element in 2022 is that despite the contractual language that enables automation and the fact that three terminals have implemented automation since 2008, the ILWU increasingly views automation as an existential threat and microcosm of robotics` greatest threat, displacing human labor.
This is a significant change from previous years, when they accepted the terminals` right to automation in exchange for various concessions, including a lifetime income for each docker whose job is eliminated by automation.  As market share is lost to more competitive and less congested markets on the East and Gulf coasts, terminal operators are in a hurry to resolve the problems of operations on the West Coast. At the same time, many believe that the ILWU is trying to negotiate a withdrawal of automation quotas. A history of ILWU-PMA contract negotiations dating back to 2002, when employers first won the right to use computer technology, paints a picture that could point to murky waters for 2022: their supply chains are shaking and shaking, shippers are waking up in a cold sweat. If it is not dark, the horizon is blurred, impossible to see what awaits us. But shippers know there is a contract expiration there. And they fear it. Senders can`t help but hear a small voice in their heads: „Theeey`re heeere.“ What`s here? The poltergeists of the 2014-15 contract negotiations between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). As bad as that spirit is, as damaging as these 2014-2015 negotiations were to shippers` businesses, shippers are wondering: Will the next negotiations be worse? The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents 70 ocean carriers and port terminals on the U.S. West Coast, demanded in a letter earlier this month that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) extend its current employment contract for an additional year, until July 1, 2023. The LDC promoted the extension as a „necessary step to protect trade and our economy during this period of recovery.“ The 2008 treaty was perhaps the most revolutionary of the previous three treaties. It gave individual terminals the unlimited right to introduce automation – computer-controlled shore-to-shore ship cranes, unmanned horizontal land transport and automated stacking cranes in the yard – which could eliminate 40 to 50 percent of all ILWU longshoring jobs.
The negotiations were relatively peaceful.  The contract extension will increase wages, maintain health benefits and increase pensions from 2019 to 2022. In 2019, the ILWU agreed to extend the existing contract by three years; Union members received a wage increase in return. ILWU President Willie Adams said in a statement this week: „The employer is now requesting an extension of this extension. We have been waiting for seven years to solve problems that are important for dockers. The loss of market share was a major problem for terminal operators after the 2014-2015 contracts. Last year`s pain was so severe and costly that terminal operators who were on the fence in terms of automation have now decided to proceed with the costly introduction of automated machines that require little or no human intervention. The TraPac Terminal in Los Angeles had just completed the first phase of its automation project, and the Middle Harbor Terminal in Long Beach was scheduled to open the first phase of its automated terminal the following spring.  7 August 2017 | The International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced that its members have voted for a three-year extension of their employment contract on the West Coast. .