February 12 - The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), representing employers at 29 US West Coast ports, is suspending vessel loading and unloading at all ports starting today (Thursday February 12) amid stalled labour contract negotiations with the Intern

The four day suspension coincides with "premium-pay" weekend for holiday vessel operations, which command a pay rate premium of at least 50 percent compared to the basic longshore wage rate.

The days of the suspension are: today (Lincoln's Birthday); Saturday February 14; Sunday February 15; and Monday February 16 (Washington' Birthday).

Yard, rail and gate operations are expected to continue at terminal operators' discretion.

The PMA says its members have concluded it makes no sense to pay high rates for full shifts of ILWU workers when productivity is severely diminished amid slowdowns during negotiations.

The previous six-year labour pact between the PMA and ILWU expired in July. Despite a federal mediator having joined the negotiations in early January, the two sides have so far failed to reach a deal.