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Industry & Trends

What the West Coast Port Strike Settlement Means for the Industry

After weeks of labor slowdowns and congestion, striking workers at the nation’s West Coast ports have agreed to a new contract. It means more normalized import processing…but at a cost.

For companies who import raw materials and products from Asia, the settlement of the strike at ports up and down the west coast comes as a relief, but it also comes with a price.

Earlier this month, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association announced a tentative agreement on a new contract that covers 22,000 workers at 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle, among the busiest in the country and the prime points of entry for imports from China, Taiwan and other supply points in Asia.

The Washington Post, in covering the settlement, reported “The new contract includes a wage increase of 8 to 10 percent for the first year, according to a person briefed on the details who was not authorized to speak publicly. The person declined to say how much pay would rise for the remainder of the workers’ six-year contract.” Union members are expected to vote on the contract in August.

The Post, citing a study commissioned by the Pacific Maritime Association, said the hourly pay rate for union longshoremen ranged from $46.23 to $52.03 in 2022. The average annual earnings for longshoremen totaled more than $194,000, the trade group’s study said.

Coming after years of turmoil in the supply chain, the settlement should begin to return port activity back to normal levels. But all is not resolved in the business of getting goods from Point A to Point B. Canadian longshoremen voted to strike as early as this month while back in the U.S., United Parcel Service workers have also approved a strike that would start before the end of June.

As one logistics crisis seems to have passed others are on the horizon potentially impacting the process – and the resulting costs – for the entire building and related industries.

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