US port workers are in a favorable position, but much is at stake

On May 12, the labor agreement negotiations between port workers on the US west coast and their employers begin. APM Terminals won’t leave out the possibility of a strike. On the other side, labor union ILWU has a lot at stake.

In 2016, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was backed by the port workers' labor union ILWU due to his struggle for labor unions and the working class. | Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

The massively strained supply chains face an upcoming drama that may stir new issues and prompt fear of further disruptions, which cannot be afforded by shippers around the world.

In light of the major problems with over-filled terminals and bottlenecks, which have been ongoing during the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire industry’s – but mostly Washington politicians’ – eyes are directed toward the negotiations, when the port employees’ powerful labor union International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the terminals on the US west coast meet up to discuss new contracts on May 12.

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