LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The industry group representing shippers announced Friday that operations at some marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were "effectively shut down" following staged concerted and disruptive work actions from the union representing West Coast dockworkers.
The shippers industry group, Pacific Maritime Association, in a tweet further claimed International Longshore and Warehouse Union also staged similar work actions that "shut down or severely impacted terminal actions at the ports of Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle and Hueneme."
In response to the allegations, ILWU in a statement said "any reports that negotiations have broken down are false."
The two parties have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement, which would cover more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports. Their previous agreement expired on July 1, 2022.
ILWU said PMA represents more than 70 multi-national ocean carriers and maritime companies in contract negotiations with ILWU.
"PMA member carriers and terminal operators made historic profits of $510 billion during the pandemic," ILWU said in a statement. "In some cases, profits jumped nearly 1,000%."
"As shipping volumes return to normal in 2023, PMA members have continued to post revenues that far exceed pre-pandemic times by billions of dollars," the dockworkers' union added.
In early April, PMA alleged a worker shortage shut down the twin ports for two days, but ILWU attributed the dockworker shortage to union members attending its monthly meeting and observing religious holidays.
ILWU stated its workers risked and lost their lives during the pandemic to ensure goods and other necessary supplies reached stores, hospitals and consumers.
"Despite this fact, from pre-pandemic levels through 2022, the percentage of ILWU wages and benefits continued to drop compared to PMA rising revenues," ILWU said in a statement.
The union stated it is "committed to bargaining a contract that is fair and equitable," including wages and benefits that "reflect the dedication of the ILWU workforce and its contributions to the shipping industry's success."
Willie Adams, president of ILWU, said in a statement the two parties are working hard to reach an agreement.
"We aren't going to settle for an economic package that doesn't recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the shipping industry to record profits," Adams said in a statement.