The union locals that represent workers from 36 ports from Maine to Texas have started contract talks with employers before the September 30, 2024 expiry date. Both sides are eager to work on a new contract in the midst of difficult labour-management relations across industries, which includes the U.S. West Coast ports that have been without a contract for 7 months and counting.
The East Coast ports compete for shipping trade with the West Coast ports, and have benefitted from importers transferring their cargo to the East amidst the unresolved contract talks in the West, which have stalled over issues of wage and automation. The East Coast contract talks will cover wages, healthcare, and labour issues like worker productivity. Representatives say that there are fewer stumbling blocks for talks covering the East Coast, but the union has been fiercely opposed to the use of fully-automated equipment at ports.
1. U.S. East Coast Port Workers Begin Early Contract Talks, Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2023. Accessed February 15, 2023.