The director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), George H. Cohen, on Wednesday said in a statement that negotiators for the International Longshoremen's Association and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) have completed two days of talks and "discussed a number of major issues."
"As a result of today's discussions, the parties will have their respective committees review their positions and analyze associated costs," he said. "Meanwhile, the parties' subcommittees will continue to meet in an effort to resolve additional outstanding issues."
Cohen's brief statement commended the union and employers "for their hard work and their commitment to this process."
The contract between the ILA and its employers expired on Sept. 30, but the two sides have extended their labor contract through Dec. 30 and have been negotiating with the assistance of FMCS.
Last week, ILA President Harold Daggett had said in a letter to his members that a 20-man negotiating committee met with management counterparts
earlier this month and in subcommittees covering jurisdiction, MILA (the union's medical plan), productivity and efficiency, container freight stations, container royalty and apprenticeships.
Daggett said in that note "I believe that we are making progress in all these areas, however, there is much to be done."
Any contract the ILA and USMX generate with must be approved by the union's 200-plus member Wage Scale Committee, then submitted to the entire membership.
Daggett said in his Oct. 16 letter that "recognizing the financial hardship that attendance at Wage Scale Committee meetings imposes on many ILA local unions, I do not intend to call another Wage Scale Committee meeting until I have a substantive document for you to review and consider. Hopefully, the document that is presented will meet with your approval and you will be able to recommend it to the entire deepsea ILA membership who will then, in turn, vote on it before the end of the extension period." - Chris Dupin