Thursday, January 29, 2015

PMA, ILWU Reach Chassis Deal

By Mark Edward Nero

The Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union, which have been locked in negotiations on a new six-year contract for nearly nine months, have come to an agreement on a major issue: jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair, the PMA revealed this week.

The agreement is believed to cover the maintenance, repair and inspection of the chassis’ used by trucks to haul cargo containers to and from terminals. Jurisdiction of them became an issue after ocean carriers stopped providing their own chassis, which forced the intermodal industry to utilize chassis pools and chassis leasing companies that aren’t part of the PMA.

“A tentative agreement was reached on the chassis topic, and we are hopeful that this will allow us to move toward conclusion of a full agreement in the near term,” the PMA said in a Jan. 27 statement, without disclosing exact details regarding the arrangement. The ILWU later confirmed the news.

This is only the second major issue that the two sides have come to an agreement on since last May: in August the PMA and ILWU released a joint statement announcing they had reached a tentative agreement on health benefits for workers.

The two sides are still negotiating other contract issues, including wages and pensions, but both say they’ve agreed not to discuss the terms of the tentative agreements while negotiations continue. The previous six-year labor pact, which covered almost 20,000 longshore workers at 29 ports up and down the West Coast, expired at 5 pm on July 1, 2014.