The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has schedule informal meetings on collective bargaining issues during the week of February 13, 2017, and has invited its locals at ports from Maine to Texas to participate.
The current contract for East Coast ports between the ILA and The United States Maritime Association (USMX) expires on September 30, 2018.
President Daggett of the ILA noted, “These are not Wage Scale Committee meetings and therefore not formal bargaining sessions”.
ILA locals will meet privately on Monday, February 13, and Tuesday, February 14, and then with management at joint meetings on Wednesday, February 15 and Thursday February 16, 2017.
Automation and the resulting loss of union jobs is a potential flashpoint in any talks. This past September, at an International Dockworkers Council, President Daggett denounced automation, saying he would insist on job protection for union members.
In 2014, the ILA had talked of meeting with USMX in extending the current contact as far as 2025, but the meetings never materialized due to disputes over ILA jurisdiction on maintenance and repair of chassis.
This announcement quickly follows the recent agreement on the West Coast for meetings to extend the current contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
Beneficial cargo owners are closely watching these developments, as coast-wide shutdowns almost occurred during the last round of contract negotiations for the ILWU in 2014 and the ILA in 2012 – 2013.