West Coast Port Disruptions to Extend to Tuesday (June 6) Amid Labor Rift

Intermittent disruptions at several key US West Coast ports are set to stretch into their fifth day Tuesday amid ongoing labor-contracts negotiations.

Pacific Container Terminals at the Port of Long Beach has canceled cargo operations for Tuesday’s first shift, according to a notice sent to the trucking community. The notice didn’t cite a reason for the closure.

At least one terminal at the Port of Los Angeles canceled cargo operations Monday, while two terminals at the Port of Long Beach were closed Monday “based on operational needs” and will reopen for the evening shift, Executive Director Mario Cordero said in a statement. The port is otherwise running normally, he said.

West Coast dockworkers and their employers have been holding labor contract negotiations for over a year, with the occasional slowdown or work stoppage interrupting the flow of cargo that goes through the US’s biggest import hub.

The Pacific Maritime Association blamed the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for the latest spate of disruptions.  “Over the weekend and continuing today, the ILWU has continued to stage concerted and disruptive work actions that have slowed operations at key marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and elsewhere on the West Coast, including the Ports of Oakland and Seattle,” PMA, which represents ocean carriers and terminal operators, said in a statement issued

Meanwhile, labor shortages that effectively shut Oakland’s international terminals on Friday appeared to resolve Monday. “The Port of Oakland’s marine terminals are operational today,” Director of Communications Robert Bernardo said in an email.

The National Retail Federation on Monday renewed calls for the White House to intervene in the contract talks.  “As we enter the peak shipping season for the holidays, these additional disruptions will force retailers and other important shipping partners to continue to shift cargo away from the West Coast ports until a new labor contract is established,” David French, senior vice president of government relations at NRF, said in a statement.

The Biden administration will continue to monitor the situation closely as negotiations continue, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday. But she declined to say whether the White House would intervene in the talks.

ILWU, which represents about 22,000 dockworkers on the US West Coast, has been negotiating a new labor contract with PMA since May of last year. The previous contract expired on July 1, 2022.