On June 2, members of the IWLU effectively shut down some terminals across every major container gateway on the US West Coast after contract negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association broke down over wages. Cargo handling was partially or, in some cases, completely shut down at certain terminals. It is not unusual for the dockworkers union to target individual terminals rather than shutting down an entire port or all ports on the West Coast, since that might attract unfavorable press and even federal intervention.
As of June 6, terminals are open but with around 25% less labor and delays are expected.
The current contract talks, which have been underway for nearly 13 months, have contributed to a large drop in the trans-Pacific market share of US West Coast ports. The West Coast’s share of US imports from Asia in April was 56.5%, down from 60.4% in May 2022. The National Retail Federation (NRF) has said that retailers will continue to divert as much of their discretionary cargo as possible to East and Gulf Coast ports until the new contract is ratified.