The United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) has advised the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) that the planned one day work stoppage violates the ILA-USMX master contract. The ILA had announced yesterday plans to stop work at ports all along the East and Gulf Coast for one day and organize a march in Washington to protest government involvement in the industry. The USMX has now deemed this a contract violation and any proceedings would have consequences for the union.
The master contract forbids any unilateral work stoppage by the ILA for any reason. The USMX, who represents ocean carriers, stevedores, terminal operators and port associations, could seek damages on behalf of its members if the ILA was to proceed with the planned march in Washington.
The ILA has not called a coast wide strike since 1977. The USMX is urging the ILA to cancel plans for a walk out as it would disturb the stable labor environment that the East and Gulf Coast have had for so long. The ILA is calling the strike to protest the Waterfront Commission and also fight for ILA workers to be awarded more jobs at state-run ports.
Kenneth Riley, the ILA vice president, has stated that a walkout would not be scheduled until the union has discussed the issues with industry stakeholders and union members. The ILA is represented at 14 seaports along the East and Gulf Coast.
It is expected 15,000 members will attend the march and the date of the event is expected to be released next week. The USMX has described the strike news as disturbing as it would bring much of the cargo on the East and Gulf Coasts to a halt.
The current master contract between the ILA and USMX expires on September 30, 2018. Negotiation communication has begun and beneficial cargo owners should be aware of the possible congestion that may result from strikes on the East and Gulf Coast until agreements have been settled.