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Caucus Will Determine Whether ILWU Signs Tentative Contract or Not

(Bill Mongelluzzo – JOC)

U.S. West Coast contract negotiations could go one of two ways when the International Longshore and Warehouse Union convenes a caucus in San Francisco in the week beginning Dec. 15.

If the ILWU leadership believes there is enough substance in what has been negotiated by then, it would seek authorization to sign a tentative contract that would then have to be approved in a vote by the rank and file in the ensuing weeks. Conversely, if the union’s leaders are not comfortable with what they have to present to the caucus, they would decide to return to the negotiating table with the Pacific Maritime Association.

That latter option could be devastating. With the Christmas holidays at hand, no significant progress in negotiations could be expected for the rest of the month. Extending the contract negotiations into 2015 would be extremely costly for shipping lines, terminal operators and especially the importers and exporters who depend upon the U.S.West Coast gateways. Read more here.