A contract between shipping companies and 22,000 U.S. West Coast dockworkers expired on July 1. But both sides continued to talk to avoid a strike that could damage an economy already stressed by soaring inflation and supply chain problems.
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The expired contract covered workers at ports from California to Washington state that handle nearly 40% of U.S. imports. The ILWU is the union representing Pacific dockworkers, and the Pacific Maritime Association is a trade group for cargo carriers and terminal operators. The talks are so crucial that President Joe Biden even stepped in last month and met with both sides in Los Angeles. Both sides said last month that they weren't planning any work disruptions, but U.S. industries are clearly worried.
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Two years of strong consumer spending have seen record cargo volumes hammer West Coast ports with congestion, leading to an unprecedented supply-chain crisis. Although the situation has improved, the possible port workers' strike might threaten the recovery.
1) Bob Woods "A West Coast port worker union is fighting robots. The stakes for the supply chain are high", CNBC WORK, JUL 23 2022