International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett said he’s confident ILA members will be satisfied with a tentative agreement on a coastwide contract and that the union now will turn its attention “to achieving equally successful local contract agreements.”
Daggett commented in a statement Sunday following the announcement late Friday night that the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance reached tentative agreement on a six-year coastwide master contract that averted a threatened strike this week at East and Gulf Coast ports.
He noted that the tentative agreement was contingent on successful negotiation of supplemental local agreements covering work rules and other port-specific issues, and on ratification by union members.
“I know ILA members will be satisfied with the results of our negotiating efforts thus far,” Daggett’s statement said. “Although the two sides cannot release complete details of this still-unfinished contract, I can assure my membership that the protections for our jurisdiction and increased benefits and wages were achieved.
“We have come away from these master contract negotiations with landmark agreements on automation, protection of chassis work and powerful jurisdiction language. Our work last week continued this negotiating successes,” he said.
“We turn our full attention now to achieving equally successful local contract agreements. And we look forward to our members expressing their voice in the ratification process of the full contract package,” he said.
Daggett said he would not release details of the tentative agreement “until the full contract package — both master and local agreements — are available for ILA members to review and approve.”
No schedule has been announced for the local negotiations, or for the ratification vote on the contract covering 14,500 ILA members at East and Gulf Coast ports.
Daggett said negotiation of local agreements would continue without interruption to port operations. Before the tentative agreement on the master contract, port users had been preparing for a possible work stoppage after the current contract’s expiration at midnight Wednesday.
Work rules in the local contract between the ILA and the New York Shipping Association have been a top issue in this year’s contract negotiations. The NYSA is seeking changes to what it has described as “archaic” practices and staffing requirements at the high-cost Port of New York and New Jersey.