The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) is not willing to start negotiations for an extended or new contract at the East Coast ports until disputes on the current agreement are resolved.
Per Dennis Daggett, the ILA’s Executive Vice President, “How can you discuss an extended or new contract when the terminal operators and the carriers are not living up to the current contract?” Daggett went on to say, that a new contract “is definitely not in sight.”
Daggett’s comments were in response to David Adam, CEO of United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) advice that discussion on an early start to negotiations were currently in a summer hiatus.
The ILA and USMX had in 2015 talked of an early start to extend the current agreement past the September 30, 2018 expiration date to as far as 2025. The effort is being made to avoid the labor issues that had plagued the West Coast between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
“The chassis issue is still not resolved, and the carriers are doing nothing to help us,” Daggett said. “We have jurisdictional issue up and down the coast. We have terminal operators that aren’t living up to the current agreement. We have port authorities trying to circumvent our jurisdiction. We have pension issues in Charleston, where they don’t feel like they have a local contract.”
USMX officials claim that all the issues have been discussed with the ILA, and that they expect the union to raise them again during the next bargaining round.
Meanwhile, positive news on the West Coast ports, with the ILWU issuing a statement that “By majority vote on Thursday, delegates voted to enter into discussions with representatives of PMA regarding the concept of a contract extension and report back to the membership.”
PMA President James McKenna said that discussions should start within the next 30 to 60 days. The current contract between labor and management will expire on July 1, 2019.