Negotiations for a new International Longshoremen’s Association contract covering dockworkers at East and Gulf Coast ports broke down suddenly Wednesday, ILA spokesman James McNamara said.
The breakdown in contract talks is certain to cause shippers to step up contingency plans that many already have implemented as the current contract’s Sept. 30 expiration draws near. Those plans include accelerating shipments or diverting cargo to the West Coast, Canada or Mexico.
Committees representing the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance met Wednesday morning in anticipation of three days of talks in Delray Beach, Fla., but negotiations broke off after a 20-minute session. Negotiations for supplementary local contracts also have been suspended, McNamara said.
McNamara said ILA President Harold Daggett broke off talks after USMX presented a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal and said management would not discuss continuing negotiations unless the ILA agreed not to require employers to “pay for inefficiencies.”
USMX officials were not immediately available.
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