Possible ILA Strikes

In the past year there have been various threats of strikes by the International Longshoremen’s Association(ILA) whereby the US West Coast ports would be affected with strikes and slowdowns if certain contract items were not restructured. Now there is a new more serious threat of such strikes, but at the US East coast and Gulf ports since over the past few months there have been less than fruitful negotiations for contracts covering dockworkers. The ILA is looking to hold the current terms of the contract that will be ending for the longshoremen’s union in September. They seem to be unyielding in the 24hour pay stipulations which can be crippling to the management in this current economic climate. Shipping companies are already trying to keeping lower ocean freight rates to allow for their customers to continue international cargo shipping so they are looking for other parts of the supply chain to assist in the burden. The union on the other hand does not want to negotiate this part of the contract and are threatening stoppages to try to force management to sign anyway. In 2002 there was a strike on the US West Coast that shutdown ports and affected international shipping containers from their flow in and out of the US. The unions are using this disaster to deter management and keep their current contracts since this can affect so many US companies. Fortunately, this time the US West Coast ports are ready for additional capacity if this strike should happen so international freight shipping will have only a few hiccups rather than a full stoppages in container flow.