Labor negotiations between West Coast dock workers and their cargo-handling employers are scheduled to begin this week, at a time when any further disruption to trade flows at ports would exacerbate the already-tight supply chain, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which is negotiating on behalf of management, are set to begin tomorrow in San Francisco.
The union has said its goal is to preserve jobs at the docks. The PMA last week issued a report supporting additional automation at the ports and arguing that automation has created jobs, not reduced them, because of the need for training and upskilling.
The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach process 40 percent of containerized imports from Asia but have been a bottleneck point for ships waiting to unload. Strikes and lockouts slowed the flow at West Coast ports during labor negotiations in 2012 and 2014.