Richard Hughes Jr., who is not seeking re-election as International Longshoremen’s Association president, said Harold Daggett has his “full support” as the next head of the Atlantic and Gulf dockworkers’ union.
Daggett, the ILA’s executive vice president and longtime head of its New Jersey equipment maintenance-repair local, is scheduled to take over the top job Thursday at the ILA’s quadrennial convention.
With no announced opposition, Daggett’s election is a formality. When Hughes said last spring he would not seek a second term, he joined other ILA executive committee members in unanimously endorsing Daggett.
Hughes, 77, succeeded John Bowers as ILA president four years ago. He told convention delegates he would not have relinquished the post if he “did not believe the ILA had the strongest leadership in place ready to accept this powerful challenge to move forward” for union members.
He said he did “not plan to necessarily ride off into the sunset at the conclusion of this convention, merely step slightly aside and let others with equal enthusiasm take the wheel of this ILA ship.”
In 2009 Hughes negotiated a two-year contract extension that Daggett supported after initial opposition. The agreement provided employers with up-front cost reductions to help them through the recession.
Agreement, however, sharply narrowed gaps between wage tiers and eliminated caps on the tonnage-based royalty assessments carriers pay to support union bonuses and benefits.
The ILA and management’s United States Maritime Alliance are expected to open negotiations this fall on a new contract to replace the one that expires Sept. 30, 2012.
Daggett, scheduled to address the ILA convention Thursday, has signaled his intention to emphasize ILA work jurisdiction among union demands in the next contract talks.