The U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) has presented the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) with a proposal to extend the current labor deal that is under review, according to a memo ILA President Harold Daggettt sent to union members on Monday.
ILA president Harold Daggett notified members that the ILA is reviewing a proposed contract.
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) have taken a step forward in the labor contract negotiations for U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast ports.
ILA President Harold Daggett notified union members via a memo on Monday that USMX has presented ILA with a contract extension proposal.
Daggett said in the memo that the ILA is “reviewing and evaluating the contents of this document and has contacted USMX to clarify some of the times in the document.” The proposal to begin negotiations marks the beginning of the end of the Maine-to-Texas labor agreement, which expires next year.
In previous statements regarding the contract negotiations, the ILA has promised it will oppose fully automated container terminals.
“The issue of automation will dominate the master contract talks,” Daggett predicted in January. However, the ILA would be amenable to semi-automated terminals, Daggett said at the time.
While Daggett’s memo did not share the contents of the USMX contrace, he said that a Wage Scale Committee meeting will be convened “in the near future” to discuss the proposal. Members would be notified when the meeting arrangements are finalized.
Contract discussions have been ongoing, and informal talks between the ILA and USMX in February were “productive and fruitful,” according to the ILA. However, just days later, ILA members called for the shutdown of Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports and a march on Washington to protest job loss. Daggett urged members not to shut down the ports while USMX reminded members to remain in compliance with the master contract.
As a result, the ILA intends to put more emphasis on local contract bargaining, Daggett said in his memo.
“The last time around, several ILA local ports had failed to reach agreement on their local contracts before the master contract was ratified in April 2013,” he wrote. “Major ports like Baltimore, Hampton Roads and Charleston were without local agreements for months and even years after the master contract took effect. The ILA will make certain that ILA members at all ports are satisfied with their local agreements before we ask them to ratify the entire contract package.”
Given that negotiations are still in a very early state, no talks are currently scheduled. However, with the West Coast contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) extended to July 2022, ILA and USMX are surely feeling the pressure to reach a new agreement in advance of the current contract’s expiration.
The previous ILWU-PMA labor deal, which was agreed upon in 2015 after a lengthy and contentious negotiation that left many West Coast ports highly congested and the supply chains of those that depended on them in disarray, was scheduled to expire on July 1, 2019. The ILWU voted in favor of the three-year contract extension, which includes annual wage increases, pension increases and early retirement incentives, earlier this year.