West Coast Ports Labour Update – Wed, June 14

coracle News

Vancouver and Prince Rupert, BC
All indications point to a dockworkers strike starting Saturday, June 24th. If these ports temporarily shut down from the strike, inbound cargo would probably be redirected to the U.S. West Coast ports, which would add to the congestion. The current challenge is that the U.S. West Coast ports have their own labour disruptions to deal with. 

Seattle, WA
Work at the Port of Seattle has resumed. PMA and ILWU agreed to a truce yesterday, with dockworkers saying they will return to normal working hours until the end of this week.

Tacoma, WA
No job action to report, but expect operations to be slower than usual.

Oakland, CA
No job action to report, but expect operations to be slower than usual.

Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA
The Port of Los Angeles is downplaying reports of disruptions in its monthly update, saying the impact of the sporadic labour shortages are “minimal.” Acting Labour Secretary Julie Su has flown to San Francisco to meet with both the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) to collaborate with both sides of the negotiations. The Biden Administration has said that labour negotiations are a top priority.

The Backstory (Canada)

Here’s a brief history of the current labour dispute for Vancouver and Port Rupert:

  • January 2023 – Talks were scheduled between the BC Maritime Employers (BCMEA) which represents 49 member companies and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of Canada (ILWU) which represents 7,400 dock workers, but they were postponed
  • Mar 2023 – BCMEA and ILWU met five times to negotiate
  • March 22 – ILWU applies for federal intervention in contract talks
  • March 31 – The 5-year contract between BCMEA and ILWU expired
  • March 28 – May 30 – The Canadian federal government appointed two senior conciliation officers to assist with negotiations, but no deal was reached
  • May 31 – A 21-cooling period began, and BCMEA and ILWU agreed not to apply for job action before June 21
  • June 9 and 10 – 99.24% of ILWU members voted in favour of supporting a potential strike, which could start as early as June 24

The Backstory (United States)

Here’s a brief history of the current labour dispute for the U.S. West Coast Ports:

  • The last time an ILWU contract expired in July 2014, port operations slowed drastically as negotiations dragged into 2015, although no formal strike was declared
  • May 10, 2022 – negotiations start for a new contract between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents terminal operators and ocean carriers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents employees at 29 West Coast Ports in the states of Washington, Oregon, and California
  • July 1, 2022 – The contracts of 15,000 port workers expired
  • Nov 2022 – June 2023 – Dockworkers take random job actions at rotating ports to disrupt flow of cargo

Need Advice for Your Shipment?
If you have shipments going through any West Coast ports and need advice on your options, please contact your Canaan Group sales representative or email sales@canaangroup.ca. We are monitoring the situation on an ongoing basis, and have several options for our customers to consider.