Representatives of the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance will resume contract negotiations on Oct. 10 in Delray Beach, Fla., under supervision of a federal mediator.
It will be the first formal meeting since the ILA and USMX agreed last month to extend their Maine-to-Texas contract 90 days past its original Sept. 30 expiration. The extension to Dec. 29 averted the threat of a strike during the pre-holiday peak season.
ILA and USMX officials and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which is overseeing the talks, have imposed a news blackout on the negotiations.
Union and employer representatives along the East and Gulf coasts have been meeting to negotiate local or regional contracts that supplement the coastwide master agreement.
The master contract covers container and roll-on, roll-off wages, the carrier-paid container royalties that support worker bonuses and benefits, the coastwide medical plan, jurisdiction and other issues.
Local agreements cover breakbulk wages, local pensions and benefits, work rules, and other port-specific issues.
The most contentious of the local negotiations involves the Port of New York and New Jersey, where employers are seeking changes to decades-old work rules and pay practices that require extra staffing and extensive overtime pay. The ILA and the New York Shipping Association opened local negotiations last week, with the federal mediator sitting in. Representatives of the ILA and NYSA exchanged proposals and plan to continue their talks this week when union and management officials meet in Florida.