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West Coast port officials praise longshoremen contract ratification vote


West Coast longshore workers ratified a tentative contract agreement reached in February with employers represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted 82 percent in favor of approving the new five-year agreement that will expire on July 1, 2019, ILWU officials announced last week after the Coast Balloting Committee certified the results.

The previous contract was ratified in 2008 with a vote of 75 percent in favor, ILWU officials said in a press release.

"The negotiations for this contract were some of the longest and most difficult in our recent history," said ILWU International President Robert McEllrath. "Membership unity and hard work by the negotiating committee made this fair outcome possible."

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka praised the ratification vote.

"The approval of this labor contract allows us to move full speed ahead sharpening our competitive edge," he said in a prepared statement. "In the last 90 days, labor and management throughout the San Pedro Bay supply chain have made excellent progress eliminating the backlog of ships, getting services back on schedule, and improving cargo flow in and out of terminals."

Seroka added that he, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and ILWU and PMA terminal operators were working on other initiatives to "take cargo efficiency and velocity to the next level."

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