ILA, employers will begin contract talks in February
Talks on a new master contract will begin in February between International Longshoremen’s Association members and employers represented by the U.S. Maritime Alliance.
ILA spokesman Jim McNamara said Thursday that bargaining is scheduled to begin at a session scheduled for Feb. 9-13 in Orlando, Fla.
Prior to then, some 200 wage scale delegates from the union will meet in Tampa in January to begin developing their demands for the new contract.
The ILA, which represents dockworkers on the East and Gulf coasts as well as the Great Lakes, has a contract that runs through Sept. 30, 2010, but the union has said it would like to begin negotiations early.
“I think most of the ILA shares my desire that our negotiations begin sooner, rather than later so that the flow of commerce — whether foreign or domestic — continues and grows at our ILA ports,” said ILA President Richard P. Hughes, at a speech at the Foreign Commerce Club in New York in October. He said it “serves no purpose to spell out any list of demands that the ILA wants to see in its next contract. Those will come from our membership and delivered to negotiations by the wage scale delegates.”
Hughes said at that event, “Recognizing the stability and growth that has been a part of this industry for the past several decades, I have no reason to believe we will fail in our efforts to get a new contract that amply rewards our membership and helps the companies remain vibrant and profitable.”
He added that negotiating the contract “will require great vision and fortitude by both the ILA and our management partners. I believe those that sit on each side of our negotiating table — ILA and USMX — possess the necessary understanding and appreciation of the current state of affairs and a good grasp of the challenges that must be addressed and answered prior to settlement.”