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U.S. West Coast Dockworkers Must Address Productivity Issues

By Patrick Burnson
April 28, 2014

Supply chain managers have another reason to be concerned about upcoming U.S. West Coast dockside labor negotiations, say industry analysts.

According to SeaIntel Maritime Analysis in Copenhagen, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will fight hard to protect and increase compensation that is far greater than that earned by dockworkers anywhere else in world.

At the same time, however, productivity remains a laggard.

“Such relatively high wages would seem justifiable, if the longshoremen’s’ productivity translated into relatively lower costs and higher profits for the ports, terminal owners and shipping line,” says Intel.

Analysts add that productivity was one of the issues raised by employers in the last round of negotiations between ILA (International Longshoremen’s Association) and USMX (US Maritime Alliance).

Indeed, is seems likely that the Pacific Maritime Association’s (PMA) will also bring this to the fore.

On average, an ILWU worker earns $98,603 a year including two and a half weeks of vacation. At the same time, ILWU workers receive a benefits package costing just nearly $5,000 per employee. This package includes fully paid health care.

Intel analysts note that s significant part of the longshoremen’s wages are the so-called royalties for each container handled, and these royalties constituted a crucial point in the negotiations six months ago when a strike nearly shut down 14 ports on the U.S. East Coast last year.


About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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