USDA Grain Transportation Report (5/11): ILWU and PMA Continue Making Progress in West Coast Labor Talks

According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported—as of the developments of last week—the labor negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) may be “headed into their final stretch.”

WSJ reported an agreement was reached on staffing at non-automated terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Although neither party has officially announced details of that agreement, it addresses one of the more contentious points of the negotiations.

Given the agreement on the use of automation reached last month, the only major issue left on the table is salaries and benefits.

As of this week, the two sides have negotiated for a full year.

The lengthy process has caused some volatility in the marketplace and prompted some importers to shift cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast ports.

A final agreement is still a couple months away to give time for final items to be negotiated and for the various member caucuses to vote.