Workers want raises. Shippers want robots. The supply chain hinges on reaching a deal (

The immediate future of the global supply chain rests on a bargaining table in San Francisco, where the union representing all West Coast dockworkers is hashing out a new contract with the assembled bosses of maritime shipping.

The current contract, which covers the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s more than 22,000 workers at the 29 ports dotting the Pacific coast of the U.S., is set to expire July 1.

At stake is the continuing flow of goods into the country, after two years of disruptions to the supply chain from pandemic lockdowns, material shortages, soaring fuel prices and the occasional giant ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal. Forty percent of all U.S. maritime imports pass through the West Coast ports, with more than 30% of all containerized imports arriving at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the nation’s largest port complex.
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