Dockworkers at US East and Gulf Coast ports sign six-year contract extension

 ILA master agreement promises labor stability through 2024. ( Photo: PA NY-NJ )

ILA master agreement promises labor stability through 2024. (Photo: PA NY-NJ)

Vote on contract extension comes after tentative agreement brokered back in July.

The union representing longshoreman on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts signed a new six-year contract extension that promises “labor peace and stability.”

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) said its master contract with the United States Maritime Alliance, which represents marine terminals on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, will now extend through 2024 after an affirmative vote by members. 

 

In a press release, the ILA said the new master contracts “bring(s) generous pay increases; landmark protections against job-killing fully automated ports; and labor peace and stability."

The issue of labor peace and stability is of particular importance to the East Coast ports. Although the East Coast did not get hit with the crippling strikes that hit the West Coast in 2014 and 2015, longshoremen in the Port of New York and New Jersey have on occasion staged unannounced walkouts.

The last being in January 2016 when dockworkers staged a Friday walkout that was believed to be in response to a federal probe of the union’s leadership.

“This is a great day for the ILA and our union membership,” said ILA President Harold Daggett.  “ILA members covered under this Master Agreement can now look to a bright future where their salaries will increase and the threat of job loss from fully automated terminals, semi-automated terminals and automated equipment is eliminated.

The master contract with the U.S. Maritime Alliance covers 14,500 union jobs along East and Gulf Coast ports. 

The current ILA Master Contract covers wages, benefits and staffing levels. But each port also works out local agreements with unions as well. In July, the ILA said it had a tentative agreement on a six-year contract for the Port of New York and New Jersey with the New York Shipping Association, which represents the terminal operators.