On August 8th, Gemini Shippers Group joined more than 100 other trade associations and organizations in urging the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Alliance to begin discussions soon to extend the current management/labor contract or to negotiate a new long-term contract. The letter emphasizes continuous dialogue as a way to avoid the disastrous port congestion during the last negotiations.
August 8, 2016
Mr. James McKenna
Chairman and CEO
Pacific Maritime Association
Mr. Robert McEllrath
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Dear Mr. McEllrath and Mr. McKenna:
The undersigned organizations representing manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers, and other supply chain stakeholders are writing to follow up on our March 15th letter encouraging the ILWU and PMA to begin early discussions on either a contract extension or a new contract. We strongly believe a contract extension is critical to ensure stability and predictability at West Coast ports.
You have both recognized the negative economic impact of disruptions and slowdowns that occurred during the last negotiations. We believe starting negotiations early will help avoid a repeat of that experience. As we have previously stated, we believe a new model for future negotiations needs to be developed, one which stresses early and continuous dialogue. This should include a pledge by both parties to ensure there are no disruptions to cargo movement during negotiations. Maintaining the arbitration mechanisms in the existing contract for the duration of the negotiations, even if the contract expires before a final agreement is reached, is critical to that process.
We applaud your organizations for considering an extension of the current contract. However, we now call upon you to agree to the requests and begin the negotiations. We fully believe that agreeing early to a contract extension or a new long-term contract will provide the stability and predictability that is needed for global competitiveness that will benefit all stakeholders (labor, terminal operators, cargo owners, etc.) who rely on West Coast ports.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.