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Port of Vancouver. Photo: © Hpbfotos

The “tentative” deal announced between the ILWU and PMA on US west coast port worker contracts will take months to complete, the ILWU has said, while North American shippers are facing other turbulence too.

Willie Adams, president, said yesterday: “While the final decision is up to our members, we feel our time at the bargaining table was well spent and that the agreement represents the hard work of our rank and file and the sacrifices they made during the pandemic.

“The next step is to follow our ratification procedure. This starts with a contract caucus that convenes delegates from our 29 locals up and down the west coast. These delegates will carefully review the tentative agreement and make a recommendation to the rank and file who will then vote. This process takes a few months to complete.”

Although shippers expressed relief yesterday that the threat of disruption was over, North America’s west coast still faces some turbulence. ILWU workers in Canada agreed this month, by a huge majority, for strike action to support their new contract negotiations.

The ILWU branch said at the time there were “99.24% in favour of supporting strike action against the BC Maritime Employers Association, if necessary”.

Work stoppages at the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert could happen as early as 24 June.

Shippers are also facing restrictions on the Panama Canal, where water levels have reached record lows and draught restrictions are in place. The Loadstar will report on the situation on Monday.

But for now, US west coast ports are back in business, although the terms of the new deal remain under wraps. Mr Adams said: “We will not be sharing details of the tentative agreement publicly until we have completed the ratification process.

He added: “I want to thank all who worked so diligently on these negotiations, along with a special thank-you to acting secretary of labor Julie Su, whose leadership helped us cross the finish line.”

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