The National Industrial Transportation urged Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to encourage the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance to resume talks on an East and Gulf Coast port labor contract.
In a letter to LaHood, NITL President Bruce Carlton said the league “is extremely concerned about the dire consequences that would impact the nation’s freight system and our economy as a result of a bicoastal port shutdown.” The letter noted that with the current ILA-USMX contract set to expire Sept. 30 and negotiations stalled, shippers have been forced to implement costly contingency plans.
“Any backup of freight and equipment in the affected ports will have a domino effect on domestic transportation systems, resulting in costly delays, supply disruptions and scheduling hardships on customers,” the letter said.
The NITL requested LaHood’s help “in strongly encouraging the two sides to get back to the bargaining table. Only as a last resort should other measures be considered to head off a port work stoppage.”
The negotiations fell apart after the ILA refused to discuss management proposals to address pay practices and work rules that include high levels of overtime, particularly in the Port of New York and New Jersey.