Wage scale delegates for the International Longshoremen's Association on Tuesday afternoon approved, in principle, the proposed aspects of a master contract for its dockworkers on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts.
ILA spokesman Jim McNamara said the union and representatives of the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), the group that represents employers, will meet jointly on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to review the complete master contract proposal. The 200-plus wage scale delegate, who will make a recommendation to the union's rank-and-file on whether or not to approve the contract are meeting in Tampa, Fla., through Thursday.
On Feb. 1, the ILA and USMX announced they had reached tentative agreement on a new, six-year master contract covering about 14,500 ILA workers who work at 14 container ports on the East and Gulf coasts, and the two sides agreed to keep ports operating normally while negotiations on local contract issues continued.
The master contract is subject to formal ratification by both sides and successful conclusion of negotiations on local contracts.
Last week, the ILA said it reached a tentative agreement on local contract issues with the New York Shipping Association (NYSA). That agreement was said by the union to be "subject to some tweaking," but will be presented to local union officials this week. Some other local negotiations are also continuing.
Following this week's meeting of wage scale delegates, the ILA said it hopes to schedule a date for ratification of both the master contract and local contracts for its members on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The ILA also said that Great Lakes District Council meetings will begin this Friday, March 15, in Tampa. - Chris Dupin