October ’22 at-a-glance … supply chain

Negotiations continue, West Coast port traffic largely normal

As West Coast port labor negotiations continue into their fourth month, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) that represents 15,600 dockworkers is accused of slowdown tactics at Oakland and Seattle-Tacoma ports. Concurrently, the ILWU  accused the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) that represents employers at 29 ports of improperly awarding cold ironing jobs work to another union. Cold ironing refers to the process of providing shoreside electrical power to a ship at berth while its main and auxiliary engines are turned off.

New procedures at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have reduced port congestion from 109 ships in September 2021 to nine this year. Given the protracted labor negotiations, ships also are relocating to New York, New Jersey, and Gulf of Mexico ports, which had their busiest August and September on record.

PMA and ILWU have agreed not to publicly discuss the negotiations underway.

Rail labor unions still considering contract to avoid work stoppage

Five of 12 labor unions have ratified the contract proposed by the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) that includes a 24% wage increase through 2024 and lump-sum bonuses for workers. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWED) Division of the Teamsters Union voted to reject the NCCC proposal. The rest of the unions are scheduled to complete votes by Nov. 17. BMWED President Tony D. Cardwell said the union would keep the status quo until at least Nov. 19.