The president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation said his meeting with U.S. dockworker union leaders produced mutual pledges of support for union job security, retraining, jurisdiction and improved working conditions in exchange for automation.
ITF President Paddy Crumlin met last week in Washington with Harold Daggett, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, and Bob McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Daggett briefed the meeting on the ILA’s contract negotiations.
The ILA is scheduled to resume bargaining with employers Wednesday on a coastwide master contract to replace the one that expires Sept. 30. Before negotiations broke off last month, the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance reached agreement in principle on automation and union jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair.
Crumlin heads the Maritime Union of Australia, which is in a dispute with Patrick Stevedores over the company’s plan to install automated straddle carriers at Port Botany. The MUA contends Patrick was required to provide notice to the union before installing the technology. The company contends it was not required to consult with the union.
"How automation is introduced has been established as an issue for all international dock workers, their employers and their shareholders and customers," Crumlin said in a statement.