Harold Daggett, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, said the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), the group representing the employers of his members, appears to be "unwilling to agree to the ILA’s main demand for job protection for the members affected by automated terminals”
In a May 25 letter
to the ILA’s Wage Scale Committee, Daggett said he has had “sporadic conversations” with James Capo, USMX's president and chief executive officer, but they have not led to “subsequent meetings and full-blown negotiations.”
The ILA and USMX met in Tampa, Fla., in March to begin negotiations on a new contract to replace a current pact that expires on Sept. 30. USMX represents steamship lines and terminal companies in negotiations for a master contract for ILA dock workers on the East and Gulf coasts.
Daggett said the main issues facing the union are preserving jobs in the face of terminal automation, making sure containers are properly weighed for safety reasons and ensuring his union receives its fair share of royalties based on container weights, chassis pools, and ILA work jurisdiction.
Capo had no immediate response to Daggett’s letter. Capo told the National Industrial Transportation League on May 8 that he was “hopeful – and maybe even cautiously optimistic – that we can reach an agreement without any disruption to the supply chain and our port operations,” citing a history of successful bargaining by the ILA and USMX.
Daggett said he's calling a meeting of the Wage Scale Committee delegates for late June.
In another development last week, the ILA and management met with an arbitrator after several terminals in New Jersey were reportedly hit with what was described as a worker slowdown.
Joseph C. Curto, president of New York Shipping Association, said "while I don't want to comment on the exact nature of the dispute because in part a decision is still pending from an industry arbitrator, I can however say that there is a dispute resolution provision within the collective bargaining agreement. This dispute was handled by that provision and while an agreement is being finalized which addresses all elements of the dispute, I have received very strong assurances by the ILA that service in all facilities is being normalized." - Chris Dupin