The Port of Long Beach. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu

The Port of Long Beach. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu

West Coast longshore workers at 29 ports along California, Oregon and Washington officially ratified a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association on Friday.

The current contract was set to expire on July 1, 2019, but has now been extended through July 2022.

The International Longshore Workers Union represents roughly 20,000 workers at West Coast ports. The Pacific Maritime Association represents cargo carriers and terminal operators.

The ILWU’s Coast Balloting Committee confirmed that 67 percent of its members voted in favor of the contract extension. The extension will raise wages, maintain health benefits and increase pensions.

A breakdown in contract negotiations between the two sides in 2014 resulted in the slowdown of cargo movement at the ports, including the two busiest ports in the nation: Los Angeles and Long Beach. The extension, which comes well before the 2019 contract was set to expire, will likely suppress fears of a labor slowdown at the ports in the coming years.

“This first-of-its-kind contract extension is great news for the maritime industry and the nation, setting the stage for reliable and productive cargo operations for years to come,” Pacific Maritime Association President James McKenna, said in a statement.

Manufacturing and trade reporter Shwanika Narayan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shwanika.

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