ILA, management still optimistic about settling contract early

ILA, management still optimistic about settling contract early

Representatives of the International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance concluded two days of meetings Wednesday and said they remain optimistic they can agree on a new master contract six months before the current pact expires Sept. 30.

The ILA-management Industry Resources Committee discussed contract issues in what ILA President John Bowers and USMX Chairman James Capo described as "productive and positive negotiations."

In a joint statement, Bowers and Capo said they expect to put together a contract package to present to the ILA's wage-scale committee within the next six weeks.

They had previously said they hoped to reach agreement by March 31 on a master contract covering container and roll-on, roll-off cargo at all Atlantic and Gulf ports. Bulk and breakbulk cargo is covered by supplemental local or regional contracts that generally are concluded after the master contract is settled.

Bowers and Capo said that at this week's meeting, they discussed issues raised at a meeting last month of USMX representatives and the wage-scale committee, which is made up of ILA representatives from throughout the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

"We're very confident that those concerns of both ILA members and employers have been considered and we're working toward finalizing an agreement," Bowers and Capo said.