The International Longshoremen's Association called off a threatened strike at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
"We've called it off. We'll be on the job Monday," said Harold Daggett, the ILA's executive vice president and head of Local 1804-1, which represents maintenance and repair workers.
Daggett said the threatened strike was averted when Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association agreed to sign off on language in a contract reached in December covering ILA maintenance and repair workers in Local 1804-1 and Brooklyn-based Local 1814.
The Metro association had balked at accepting new contract language, which stated “all equipment (containers/chassis) must be inspected at the terminal depots to ensure all equipment is safe and roadworthy before being released."
Terminal operators worried that the contract language would raise legal issues over ILA inspection of chassis owned by truckers and not carriers or chassis pools that employ ILA labor.
Daggett said the contract puts in writing what the union already does. “The agreement allows us to go ahead and inspect owners’ chassis,” he said. “If it is not in good condition, we have the right not to put a container on it. If it is in good shape, we put a container on it.”
J. Randolph Brown, president of the Metro association, could not be reached for comment.
James Devine, CEO of GCT USA, which operates New York Container Terminal and Global Terminals, said employers are relieved that the threatened work stoppage has been canceled.
“We’re pleased that we’re not disrupting our customers,” Devine said. “We can ill-afford any work stoppages at this port, and all parties need to cooperate to help us avoid them. It’s unfortunate that things became as inflamed as they did. They shouldn’t have.”
Last September the ILA closed the port for two days when dockworkers refused to cross picket lines of Philadelphia ILA members protesting the shift of work to a non-ILA terminal.Carriers and terminals in the New York Shipping Association claimed that work stoppage was an illegal strike, and sued the union for several million dollars in damages.