The International Longshoremen’s Association and its employers, which have tentatively agreed on a coastwide master contract, will continue bargaining next week on local contracts for the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The six-year master contract covering ports along the East and Gulf coasts is contingent on successful negotiation of supplemental local contracts covering work rules and other port-specific issues, and on ratification by both sides.
The most complicated of the local contracts is the New York-New Jersey agreement between the ILA and the New York Shipping Association. The NYSA is seeking to change work rules and staffing levels in order to bring costs closer to those of competing ports.
Negotiators have set a March 1 target date for completion of local contracts. The ILA has called a meeting of its 200-member wage scale committee, representing union locals along the coast, for March 12-14 in Tampa to review and discuss developments.
Bargaining opened last March between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance and has followed a sometimes rocky course. The ILA threatened to strike in September and again in December before the tentative agreement earlier this month on the master contract.
The union’s last coastwide strike was in 1977.