Dockworkers Secure 'Hero Bonuses' Amid Pandemic
West Coast dockworkers' 32% pay raise and $72m 'hero bonuses' reflect a growing trend of frontline workers seeking recognition for their services during the pandemic.
West Coast dockworkers secured a six-year contract featuring a 32% pay raise and $72 million in "hero bonuses" for maintaining cargo flow during the Covid-19 pandemic. This reflects a growing trend where laborers, from seaports to hospitals, are seeking and often receiving remuneration for risking their health amid economic tumult. These hazard pay or pandemic appreciation payments are generally added to contracts alongside annual wage increases.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, dockworkers were vital to ensuring the steady flow of goods, especially as consumer spending on goods surged, leading to rapid growth in global trade. Despite the risk to their health, they continued to work on the front lines, dealing with increased demands and the burden of maintaining critical supply chains. This service was not without sacrifice - in Southern California, for instance, at least 43 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union lost their lives due to Covid-19. However, their hard work contributed to the record-breaking operating earnings for global shipping lines, which were estimated at $208 billion in 2022.