Negotiators for the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance have completed two days of negotiations that yielded what an ILA spokesman said was “substantial progress.”
ILA and USMX officials agreed to resume negotiations July 18 in Delray Beach, Fla. Union spokesman James McNamara said the ILA hopes those meetings will produce a tentative agreement to present to ILA members.
USMX Chairman/CEO James Capo said the two sides “exchanged proposals and spent a lot of time discussing significant issues for both sides.” He would not discuss the substance of the talks.
The fact that the two sides resumed bargaining was seen as a positive sign. Last month, ILA President Harold Daggett criticized USMX’s unwillingness to accept union demands for job guarantees in exchange for automation, and Capo responded that Daggett was setting preconditions that didn’t suggest good-faith bargaining.
USMX officials agreed to resume negotiations when the ILA’s 200-member wage scale committee met this week in Delray Beach.
Many shippers, including large retailers, have said they planned to begin diverting some of their peak-season cargo to West Coast ports within the next several weeks if the negotiations don’t show progress. The current contract expires Sept. 30.
The ILA hasn’t had a coastwide strike since 1977, but Daggett last spring identified automation, work jurisdiction, chassis maintenance and repair and weighing of import containers as potential strike issues.
Discover supply chain analysis tips for doing business and building lead gen with JOC—that you can start using today—when you download JOC Insights for FREE right now.