The long-hore treaty, which resulted from the 2002 negotiations, expired on 1 July 2008. In July 2008, ILWU and the LDC reached an interim agreement for a new six-year Longshore contract. In the weeks that followed, ILWU`s accession voted in favour of the new treaty. In the 1920s, workers in the global industry tried to organize men, sailors and fishermen. A number of former IWW members and other activists, such as Harry Bridges, an Australian-born sailor who became a Longshoreman after arriving in the United States, quickly joined the International Longshoremen`s Association when the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933 caused an explosion of union membership among the Longshore men on the west coast. Harry Bridges led the union from 1934 to 1977. James P. Herman led the union from 1977 to 1991, when David Arian replaced him, followed by Brian McWilliams in 1994. James Spinosa defeated McWilliams in the ILWU presidential election in 2000. James Spinoza succumbed to Robert McEllrath, a longshore worker from Local 4 in Vancouver, WA, elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The current president is William Adams, a Longshoreman from Tacoma, Wa. After his election in 2018, he became the first black president of the ILWU. However, the expulsion had no real effect on ilWU or on Bridges` power within the ILWU.
The organization continued to negotiate agreements, with fewer disputes than in the 1930s and 1940s, and Bridges continued to be re-elected without serious resistance. The union negotiated a revolutionary agreement in 1960 to allow for the complete mechanization of the wharves, which significantly reduced the number of long-term workers in exchange for generous employment guarantees and benefits for those displaced by the changes. However, the agreement highlighted the lower status enjoyed by older members known as «B men». Bridges reacted atypically defensively to the complaints of these workers, which became even more thorny by the fact that many of the «B men» were black. The additional long-range work generated by the Vietnam War enabled Bridges to rise to the challenge by creating more jobs and making determined efforts to recruit black candidates. The ILWU subsequently faced similar challenges on the part of women, who found it even more difficult to get into the industry and trade unionism. These activists, known as the Albion Hall Group after their usual meeting place in San Francisco, have made contacts with like-minded activists in other ports. They insisted that a coastal contract, a union-run rental room and a waterfront industry association be requested and led members to reject the weak «gentlemen`s agreement» negotiated by the ILA`s conservative leaders with employers. When the employers offered to mediate, but only on the condition that the union accept the open store, the union beat every west coast port on May 9, 1934.