An International Longshoremen’s Association local has accused Yang Ming (America) of engaging in an unfair labor practice by refusing to negotiate a contract for the Taiwanese carrier’s two New Jersey-based vessel stowage planners.
ILA Local 1964 filed a charge against Yang Ming with the National Labor Relations Board’s Newark regional office, which will decide whether to issue a complaint against the company.
Although only two workers are involved, the case could have wider ramifications. In 2003, Local 1964 disrupted Evergreen America operations in East Coast ports with a four-week strike over the company’s refusal to certify the ILA as bargaining agents for four port captains and a port engineer.
Local 1964 represents small groups of port captains, who plan vessel stowage, at the New Jersey offices of Evergreen, Cosco and Yang Ming, where the union’s latest contract expired June 1. This year the ILA won a unionization vote for port captains at United Arab Shipping.
As the ILA has stepped up its organizing efforts in recent years, several container lines have shifted stowage-planning jobs out of the New York-New Jersey area.
Local 1964 President Robert Levy said Yang Ming broke off negotiations Oct. 26 and refused to commit to future meetings. He said the union proposed a three-year contract with no changes except for pay increases and language allowing one stowage planner to work from home when another is in the office.
Levy said the union initially proposed a three-year contract with a hourly wage increases of $1 in each of the first two years and $2 the third year, and reduced its demands to a one-year wage freeze followed by $1-an-hour increases in the second and third years. He said the company countered with what it said was a final offer of a wage freeze in the first year followed by two annual 50-cent hourly increases.