The International Long shore and Warehouse Union and their employers, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, are expected to resume negotiations on a new employment contract for some 20,000 longshoremen working at 29 West Coast ports to replace the one that expired July 1, but protests involving port truck drivers as well as Teamsters trying to organize local drayage companies could disrupt activity in the port.

The ILWU and PMA have continued to bargain after the deadline and promised, on July 1, "while there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached."

However, early this week, the two sides announced they were taking a three-day hiatus from those talks while the ILWU leadership tried to negotiate with another group of employers, the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers. Significantly, the union and PMA said they would extend their contract - which includes arbitration provisions - from 8 a.m. Pacific Time Tuesday July 8 through 8 a.m. Pacific Time July 11.

Meanwhile, this week, another group of workers - port truckers backed by the Teamsters who are involved in a long effort to be recognized as employees rather than independent owner-operators - have been conducting protests aimed at getting recognition from three drayage companies doing business in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach - Green Fleet Systems, Total Transportation Services, Inc., and Pacific 9 Transportation. They are picketing the truck terminals of the three companies and marine terminals in the port. On Tuesday, ILWU members honored the picket lines at four terminals thrown up by the truck drivers, but went back to work when an arbitrator ruled that the Teamster picket lines were not "bona fide."