The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents steamship lines, stevedores, and terminal operators, said they made progress in meetings this week aimed at developing a new master contract for the one that expires Sept. 30.
The union, which represents dockworkers along the East and Gulf coasts, said there was progress on issues of automation at marine terminals and jurisdiction over chassis maintenance during talks in Delray Beach, Fla. this week.
ILA President Harold Daggett told union wage scale delegates Friday morning that the union “had shortened the gap of how far apart we were from USMX and that he is very encouraged and optimistic, and believes that because everybody is unified that we will be successful in coming up with a tentative contract agreement at the next go-around of negotiations that we can send out to the membership for ratification,” said Jim McNamara, the union's director of public relations.
Daggett will lead a smaller working group that will work on the contract over the next two weeks and return to Delray Beach from July 18-20 and perhaps July 21 to meet with the full group of wage scale delegates from the ILA.
James Capo, chairman and chief executive officer of USMX, also said “I think we did make some progress, and I'm pleased that we're going to resume in two weeks.”
McNamara said to speed along negotiations the ILA and USMX created a subcommittee of about 50 people, which makes for more manageable talks than having more than 210 ILA wage scale delegates and 35 to 50 USMX representatives.
He said the union presented its entire list of demands to management, including everything from wages to jurisdiction and USMX “presented a substantial proposal to us,” but that negotiators “keyed in on the two issues of automation and chassis.
“Harold described the meeting with the smaller committee as making substantial progress… He said he was very, very happy today,” McNamara said Friday morning. - Chris Dupin