The International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association have resumed negotiations this week on a local contract including work rules in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Discussions are scheduled to resume next week on the coastwide master contract between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance, the umbrella group representing employers in East and Gulf coast ports.
The bargaining sessions are the first since the ILA and USMX announced Dec. 28 they had agreed to a short-term contract extension that averted a threatened ILA strike over the weekend before New Year’s Day.
The ILA and USMX agreed to the extension after reaching tentative agreement on container royalties, the per-ton payments by carriers that support annual payouts to longshoremen.
The agreement on royalties cleared the way for bargaining on work rules and other issues in supplementary local contracts. The most difficult of the local negotiations are expected to be in New York-New Jersey, the ILA’s headquarters and power base.
The NYSA is seeking changes to work rules and pay practices, some dating of which predate containerization. Those work rules include high levels of staffing, including requirements that terminals hire gangs of 15 or 16 workers when only nine or 10 are working at a time.
Cargo interests are watching the negotiations closely. Many shippers diverted cargo or adjusted booking schedules to avoid threatened shutdowns before the contract’s originally scheduled expiration Sept. 30 and again last month.