Last week it was announced that dock workers on the East and Gulf Coast are planning a one day work stoppage and organizing a march in Washington. Harold Daggett, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) president, has issued a statement urging East and Gulf Coast dockworkers to not engage in any work stoppage.
Daggett has announced the intention to hold emergency meetings with members of Congress to address the ILA member’s concerns. This strike was announced after an informal meeting regarding the new master contract between the ILA and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) which will replace the one expiring on September 30, 2018. The current agreement was settled after many strike threats and help from a federal mediator.
Beneficial cargo owners also have urged the ILA to avoid a coast wide strike. So many companies rely on the services of the ports and even a one day strike would have a substantial impact on the U.S. economy. Importers and Exporters consider the East and Gulf Coast ports a reliable partner in their supply chain. Shippers have commented that a coast wide strike would tarnish that reputation.
Shippers of perishable foods would especially be affected by a strike. Agriculture exporters face intense international competition and any disruption in the supply chain could have serious implications to their businesses.
There is still no date announced for the coast wide strike and there has been no confirmation that there will actually be a strike. Since the ILA and the USMX have only begun pre negotiations for the new master contract shippers should be aware that during the next year there is the risk of strikes and labor disturbances caused by the negotiations.