The International Longshoremen’s Association and its employers at U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports are discussing an early, long-term extension of their coastwide contract that expires Sept. 30, 2018. The goal: an agreement that spares cargo interests an experience such as the one they endured during the epic 2012-13 bargaining between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance. Those negotiations yielded a six-year contract, but only after nearly a year of rocky negotiations and repeated strike threats.

News & Analysis

A number of issues on both coasts stand in the way of early contract talks between dockworkers and employers that could usher in an unprecedented period of labor peace at U.S. ports.
10 Aug 2016
The International Longshoremen’s Association won't discuss a contract extension until disputes over the current contract are resolved.
20 Dec 2012
A coalition of more than 100 business organizations from across the United States urged President Obama to take "immediate action" to prevent the International Longshoremen’s Association from striking when its contract expires Dec. 29.
20 Dec 2012
The National Retail Federation and more than 100 national and state associations today sent a letter to President Obama to urge the administration to ensure that an International Longshoremen’s Association strike does not occur.
ILA dockers in Houston port
20 Dec 2012
With contract negotiations at an impasse, International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett has directed ILA locals to prepare for a Dec. 30 strike at East and Gulf Coast ports.
Charleston port ILA crane operator
18 Dec 2012
Failure of the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance to extend their contract negotiations raises the likelihood of a Maine-to-Texas dock strike at year-end.
ILA North Carolina
18 Dec 2012
Contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance broke off today, raising the likelihood of a Maine-to-Texas dock strike at year-end.


Typically, once a U.S. longshore negotiation is settled, the affected ports revert to a state of normalcy despite whatever disruption occurred during the talks. U.S. West Coast negotiations over the past 20 years have never been without disruption but were always followed by near-normal operations that lasted in some cases for years. The six years leading up to the June 30, 2014, expiration of the recent agreement between waterfront employers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union saw only sporadic disruption. But there is a difference between then and now: The current agreement reached on Feb. 20 failed to resolve all issues and one in particular — chassis maintenance — stands out as holding the potential for sparking further disruption and uncertainty for shippers.