American companies are short of manpower. The ILWU, one of the strongest unions in the country, is in a strong position to win higher wages and better working conditions.
The negotiations which have just opened between the union of 22,000 dockworkers on the west coast and the operators of the largest American ports illustrate once again the extraordinary position of strength occupied by employees in the United States for two years. Whether small or large, whether they cover industrial or service sectors, American companies are strangled by the lack of manpower.
Logical consequence of this situation: sharp accelerations in wage increases. The average rate of increase reached 5.6% in March, nearly double that observed a year earlier. In February 2020, as the pandemic began and unemployment was at its lowest in fifty years, the average increases were 3.7%.
Significant pay increases
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), one of the most powerful unions in the country, decides who can work in the 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle to load or unload…