The International Longshoremen’s Association has served notice that it will insist on retaining its jurisdiction over chassis that truckers lease from equipment providers that have historically used ILA labor for maintenance and repair.
The ILA and United States Maritime Alliance issued a joint letter saying these trucker-leased chassis no longer will be handled at ILA ports effective Sept. 16, or “when any affected port returns to normal operation,” unless the union performs the M&R work.
David Adam, president and CEO of USMX, said the issue is centered on New York-New Jersey and is related to the port’s recent congestion, which has increased equipment dwell time and caused shortages of available chassis.
He said that as truckers grabbed chassis from any source available, ILA members became concerned that truckers were using leased equipment to circumvent the union’s jurisdiction.
Chassis have traditionally been provided by container lines that are signatories to the ILA’s coastwide master contract, which commits them to employ ILA labor for M&R work. As carriers have shifted their chassis to leasing companies, ILA President Harold Daggett has insisted the union retain its jurisdiction.
The new ILA-USMX coastwide contract allows the union to refuse service at ports to any chassis-pool equipment that has been maintained or repaired in port areas by non-ILA-represented workers. This clause does not apply to chassis owned by shippers or truckers.
Although major leasing companies aren’t signatories to the coastwide master contract, the three main lessors — TRAC Lease, Flexi-van and Direct ChassisLink Inc. — have pledged to continue to use ILA labor for their M&R work.
Adam said he sees no attempt by companies to circumvent the ILA, and that the letter was mainly designed to clarify the coastwide contract’s language on chassis jurisdiction. He said he expects the issue to resolve itself when New York-New Jersey operations return to normal. Most predictions call for that to happen by mid-September.
The ILA and USMX also issued a letter stating that the union has jurisdiction over shipboard plugging and unplugging of refrigerated containers unless another U.S. union was doing the work before 1996. Adam said this issue involves only a handful of ships that have been reflagged or transferred to ILA ports from other services.