An International Longshoremen’s Association local in Bayonne, N.J., voted to authorize a strike and send pickets to other ports if no contract agreement is reached before the ILA’s current Maine-to-Texas master contract expires Sept. 30.
Members of Local 1588 voted to earmark $100,000 to pay for sending members to other ports to set up picket lines if the ILA strikes. Local President Virgil Maldonado said the votes were unanimous at a special membership meeting Monday night.
The ILA and United States Maritime Alliance are scheduled to resume negotiations Wednesday and Thursday in New Jersey under supervision of a federal mediator. The meetings on the master contract, which covers containers and roll-on, roll-off cargo, will be the first since negotiations broke off Aug. 22.
Local 1588’s 395 members work primarily at Global Terminals in Bayonne, which plans to install remote-controlled stacking cranes and labor-saving technology at truck gates as part of an expansion set for completion in 2014.
Before the negotiations broke off last month, the ILA and USMX reached agreement in principle on a new program to pay dockworkers displaced by new technology. The ILA and USMX also agreed on provisions to preserve union jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair.
Maldonado said the $100,000 for out-of-town pickets was authorized to allow ILA picketing in U.S. ports, including the West Coast, and at overseas locations where other unions have pledged support for the ILA.
Paddy Crumlin, president of the International Transport Workers Federation and the Maritime Union of Australia, met last week with the presidents of the ILA and International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the three pledged mutual support.
The ILWU is working under a contract that doesn’t expire until mid-2014.
Local 1588 was the second New York-New Jersey local to authorize its leaders to call a strike if no contract is reached. Local 1804-1, representing 1,800 equipment maintenance and repair workers, voted Aug. 28 to authorize a strike.
Local 1804-1 is headed by Dennis Daggett, president of the ILA’s Maine-to-Virginia Atlantic Coast District and son of the union’s president, Harold Daggett.
Its members work for companies in the New York Shipping Association, which is part of USMX, and the Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, which negotiates separately with the union. An ILA spokesman said, however, that all of the local’s members voted to support a strike and that NYSA and Metro workers agreed to support each other in any action taken.