The International Longshoremen's Association is expected to elect Harold J. Daggett as its new leader at its 53rd Convention this week in Hollywood, Fla.
Richard P. Hughes Jr., current ILA president, noted the ILA executive council has endorsed Daggett's nomination and said he is "in full support of this endorsement." ILA members will vote Thursday for a new president and other top officials.
Hughes, who became a longshoreman in the 1950s, told union delegates on Monday "technology and automation are reshaping our industry at a dizzying pace.
"We may view the expansion of the Panama Canal with delight, seeing it as a preview of great days ahead. But with equal trepidation, we watch as rail gateways are being constructed across the country," he said.
"Will short sea shipping and all those jobs we see coming with it disappear as those gateways offer another option to shippers," he asked.
Hughes said a challenge for the ILA leadership in labor negotiations was "grasping at the unknown with confidence.
"We can try to guess what things will be like two years from now, and only hope that we are close to what we anticipated," he said.
Hughes said he does "not plan to necessarily ride off into the sunset at the conclusion of this convention," adding "I want to be there to continue to share my expertise." ' Chris Dupin