Ninety delegates of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Caucus have voted to recommend approval of the tentative agreement reached on February 20 between the union and employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association.  Seventy eight percent of the delegates voted to recommend the proposed agreement to union member, after spending a week reviewed the agreement line by line.

The agreement will now be mailed to the ILWU rank-and-file members, who will have the opportunity to discuss the proposal at local union meetings.  A secret ballot membership ratification vote will be the final step in the process.  A final vote tally will be conduced on May 22. The proposed five-year agreement covers 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports.

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was sent from Washington to help negotiators reach a tentative agreement in February, said the vote was “an important step toward finalizing the agreement.  I am optimistic that the rank-and-file membership will recognize the contract as a fair resolution and will vote to approve the contract.”  Perez also said that, since the tentative deal was reached in February “congestion at the ports has eased considerably as the shippers and dockworkers have worked together to restore full operations at the West Coast ports.  Continued economic growth and job creation depends on dynamic, fully functioning ports, so moving forward, restoring confidence in the ports must be a priority for all stakeholders.”