The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing about 20,000 longshoremen at 29 west coast ports, excluding Canada, are negotiating with the Pacific Maritime Association for a new contract. The current six year contract expires on June 30, 2014. Although both sides claim a commitment to negotiate until a deal is reached, concern remains about a strike disrupting shipments. Should a lockout ensue, as happened in 2002 lasting 10-days, shippers will have to find alternative ports in the Gulf, east coast, or possibly Canada.
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