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West Coast Dock Workers Ratify Contract

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West Coast Dock Workers Ratify Contract

Longshoremen at West Coast ports ratified a new contract, securing a sweeping agreement that will last for six years and is expected to ease tensions after cargo shipments were diverted to other regions.

The contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which operates the terminals, covers 22,000 longshore workers at 29 ports from Los Angeles to Seattle.

The contract was 75 percent approved of members who voted, the union said Thursday night. Details of the agreement were not made public and the union declined to comment. Unionized workers at ports have average salaries in the six figures.

The maritime association did not respond to a request for comment.

The two sides announced in June that they had reached a tentative agreement after a year of negotiations that prompted the intervention of the Biden administration and coincided with a decline in cargo volume at several major ports along the West Coast.

During the bargaining period, as workers staged a series of slowdowns, including at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, some shipping companies diverted cargo to ports along the Gulf and East Coast and then never returned to their homes. old routes.

And the movement of goods continued to be delayed until the summer.

At the Port of Los Angeles, the amount of cargo imported in July was down 25 percent from a year earlier. But in Port Houston, where some companies diverted cargo, officials reported the best July on record for cargo processing.

Geraldine Knatz, a former head of the Port of Los Angeles and now a professor of policy and engineering practice at the University of Southern California, said she hoped the ratification of the contract would give some shippers the level of comfort they needed to return to their old ways. routes.

“Everybody expects us to see an increase in volume,” he said of the cargo handled on the West Coast.

Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, said the West Coast ports played a critical role in the vitality of the business community across the country.

“Now that all parties have ratified an agreement, the millions of businesses and employees who depend on their operations can rest assured that long-term stability will remain in West Coast ports,” Shay said.

Santul Nerkar contributed reporting.

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