The International Longshoremen’s Association local that ILA President Harold Daggett headed for years voted to authorize its current president to call a strike if necessary when the union’s coastwide master contract expires Sept. 30.
Local 1804-1 in North Bergen, N.J., approved the strike authorization at its monthly meeting after its president, Dennis A. Daggett, provided a status report on negotiations that broke off suddenly last week.
More than 700 workers at the local, which represents ILA equipment maintenance and repair workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey, approved the strike authorization vote in what was described as a unanimous voice vote.
Harold Daggett, elected last year as the ILA’s international president, was at the meeting.
“I am very proud of my son, Dennis,” he said. “I am very proud of this local — my local. I am more convinced than ever that it’s the greatest local in the ILA.”
Harold Daggett said negotiations fell apart when United States Maritime Alliance presented a “take-it-or-leave-it” position and demanded concessions on overtime pay, eight-hour guarantees and elimination of jobs.
Management officials said they asked the ILA to agree to discuss changes in work rules at East and Gulf Coast ports led by New York-New Jersey, which USMX Chairman/CEO James Capo said is “the world’s most expensive port.”
Dennis Daggett said the ILA’s decision last month to join the International Dockworkers Council has paved the way for overseas dockworker unions to support any ILA strike.
“Portuguese dockworkers have already written us indicating that they not only were supporting our fight against USMX, but would strike with us if we go out in October,” Daggett told his local members.
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