Dockworkers and management at West Coast ports temporarily extended a union contract through the morning of July 11 as fresh produce and other exports and imports continued to move.

The six-year contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association expired June 30. The sides took a three-day break from negotiations July 8 for the union to deal with an unrelated negotiation in the Pacific Northwest, according to a joint statement.

The soon to be resumed talks affect nearly 20,000 workers at 29 West Coast ports. Key issues include health care benefits and union jurisdiction over work done by non-members.

Some produce shippers had curtailed packing for Asia markets in advance of the June 30 expiration, said Ken Gilliland, director of international trade and transportation for Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers Association.

The affected ports range from San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. They have lost market share in recent years to Canada, Mexico, the Panama Canal and domestic ports, according to the Pacific Maritime Association.