More than 120 business groups have appealed again for the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance to agree on a contract before the latest ILA-USMX contract extension expires Feb. 6.
The letter, organized by the National Retail Federation, was the latest in a series by business groups during the protracted negotiations on a contract covering East and Gulf Coast dockworkers.
The ILA-USMX coastwide contract and the ILA’s supplemental contracts with local management groups were extended for a second time on Dec. 28, averting a threatened year-end strike. The extension followed tentative agreement on container royalties, a key issue in the coastwide bargaining.
Negotiations hit another rough patch Wednesday when ILA President Harold Daggett and other union officials walked out shortly after the start of a scheduled two-day negotiating session with the New York Shipping Association on a local contract covering the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Daggett objected to the NYSA’s proposals for changing long-established work rules and practices, including contract provisions that require high levels of relief staffing and pay for workers who aren’t on the job.
The New York-New Jersey contract is considered key to settlement on the coastwide agreement. The employers’ position has been that approval of the master contract is contingent on settlement of local contracts along the coast.