Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Negotiators have agreed to a tentative contract covering West Coast dockworkers, likely ending a protracted labor dispute that has snarled international trade at seaports handling about $1 trillion worth of cargo annually.

The global shipping industry is a ferociously competitive business, and the trans-Pacific route — from Asia to the West Coast seaports of the U.S. — is considered one of the most lucrative routes. Normally, cargo ships carrying everything from fruits and vegetables to cars and electronics can count on getting into a berth at one of the 29 West Coast seaports in a reasonable time.

Walter Siegmund / Wikimedia Commons


The worsening labor dispute at West Coast container ports is causing shippers to search for alternate pathways to and from Asia.

An obvious place to look is the thriving port in Vancouver, B.C., but officials there say they can't absorb much diverted traffic.

Birdy206 / Flickr

Employers could lock out West Coast dockworkers in as few as five days if the two sides do not reach a new contract.

That warning came Wednesday from the head of a maritime association who is negotiating a new deal with a union representing longshoremen at 29 ports that handle about $1 trillion in trade annually.

Birdy206 / Flickr

Terminal operators at West Coast ports say longshore workers are slowing down work to win leverage in contract talks. Now exports of potatoes appear to be part of the collateral damage.

Birdy206 / Flickr

The operators of West Coast port terminals say the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is engaged in a work slowdown at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. The two sides have been negotiating for about six months to reach a new contract.

Grain export companies and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union say they’ve reached a tentative labor agreement that could end a lockout at Portland and Vancouver ports. 

The agreement, which was reached just before midnight, was announced by a federal mediator.


A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Seattle's waterfront tunnel project is huge. At its height, it's supposed to create almost 3,900 jobs. In a move that shows how important each one of those jobs is, longshoremen headed out to a picket line to protect four of them. 

And that labor dispute over those four jobs has caused some work on the project to grind to a halt. 

Longshoremen in Seattle plan to appeal a recent judge’s ruling that threw out their challenge to a new Sonics basketball arena.

The longshoremen’s union argued that the city of Seattle, King County and investor Chris Hansen violated state environmental laws when they signed an agreement for the arena. They said that memorandum of understanding focuses too much on the site Hansen prefers – in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. And that’s before an environmental review is finished.

There are several new developments Wednesday in a long-running labor dispute between unionized longshoremen and Northwest grain terminal operators. One grain exporter announced it reached a contract agreement, while another locked out its union workers after discovering what it called sabotage.

Picket lines sprung up almost immediately in front of the United Grain terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Washington. This, after the terminal operator notified the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 4 of a lock out.

Marie Young-Cain

A King County judge has thrown out a lawsuit aimed at blocking a deal to build a new basketball arena in Seattle. That removes one obstacle to bringing back the Sonics NBA team.

Joe Mabel

Update: A potential strike by longshoremen in the Pacific Northwest has been temporarily averted, according to a spokesman for the grain terminal operators.  The terminal operators have been trying to reach a new contract with longshoremen at six ports in Washington and Oregon.

Pat McCormick of the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers' Association, which represents the terminal operators, says the two sides have agreed to continue talks into mid-October even though the contract expires this Sunday.

LONGVIEW, Wash. — After a year of sometimes-violent demonstrations with multiple arrests at the Port of Longview, the EGT terminal and Longshore union jointly announced Monday they're working together for the first time for a grain ship arriving Tuesday.

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge has fined a Longshore union another $65,000 for blocking a train in Longview. That brings the total fine to over $300,000.

TACOMA, Wash. – A Longshore union says it plans to appeal a federal judge's quarter-million dollar fine for its tactics in a Longview labor dispute.

Friday, lawyers on various sides of the case argued first about that punishment for a clash in early September. Later, the judge took up the heart of the matter. .

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton found the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in contempt of court for blocking a train and storming a grain terminal about three weeks ago. He's now fined the union $250,000.

Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge has fined a Longshore union $250,000 for its tactics in a Longview labor dispute.

Associated Press

LONGVIEW, Wash. — The Cowlitz County sheriff says continuing labor strife at a Port of Longview grain terminal is straining nerves and budgets.

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A conflict over Longshore union jobs at the Port of Longview, Wash., grain terminal is flaring up again with the arrest of protesters blocking railroad tracks.

Associated Press

KELSO, Wash. — About 200 Longshore workers stopped by a courthouse in Washington state to turn themselves in but left a short time later after no arrests were made.

Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge has found a union in contempt of court after hundreds of its members raided a grain terminal in southwestern Washington, smashed windows and menaced security guards last week.

Associated Press

KELSO, Wash. — Authorities in Washington have arrested two people in connection with the union takeover of a Longview grain terminal, including a worker caught on video in a vulgarity-laced tirade outside the union hall.

Associated Press

Port managers and workers up and down the west coast are closely watching the unrest in Longview, Wash. That’s where unionized longshoremen early Thursday morning stormed a port terminal and clashed with police.

If the unrest continues, this could be the first time west coast shipping is brought to a standstill in nearly 10 years.