PMA, ILWU Reach Tentative Consensus on Health Benefits

Contract talks between West Coast longshore workers and their employers moved forward July 26 when the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union announced that both parties tentatively agreed on contract terms related to health benefits.

“Maintenance of health benefits is an important part of the contract being negotiated between employers represented by the PMA and workers represented by the ILWU,” both parties said in a statement.

Each side has agreed not to disclose details of the tentative agreement while talks continue, and that this portion of the agreement is “subject to agreement on the other issues in the negotiations.”

Since May, representatives from both sides have been engaged in contract talks in an effort to hammer out a new agreement that covers over 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports.

Although the previous contract expired July 1, the PMA and ILWU have said they’re committed to continue negotiating until an agreement on a new contract has been reached.

Both sides have been quiet about what’s being negotiated, but experts have said the talks would likely encompass safety, wages and technology.

By Karen Robes Meeks