The employer group representing shipping lines has offered a new contract proposal to West Coast dockworkers.
Pacific Maritime Assn. President Jim McKenna on Wednesday urged the
McKenna said the already congested ports are roughly five to 10 days from a "meltdown." If ports become inoperable, employers would have no choice but to stop hiring workers, he said.
"We are at a critical time and this can't keep going forever," he said.
McKenna said employers offered a contract with fully paid healthcare and wages that would increase about 3% each year. The maximum pension would rise to $88,800 per year, McKenna said. Under the previous deal, dockworkers made between $25.71 and $41.48 an hour, depending on skill and experience. That's before overtime and extra pay for nighttime work.
A union spokesman said the two sides are "closer than ever and there's no reason [a new contract] can't be done right away." The union has said the port congestion stem from industry-wide changes such the rise of ever-larger container ships and a shortage of the trailers truckers use to haul goods form the ports.