ILA's Daggett Says USMX 'Misleading'

ILA's Daggett Says USMX 'Misleading'

The president of the International Longshoremen’s Association complained that carriers “invest in building new ships at nearly $200 million each, but don’t put a dime on the table in negotiations to compensate ILA members who helped them accumulate their riches.”

ILA President Harold Daggett also accused United States Maritime Alliance of “misleading rhetoric and scare tactics” and said payments to workers from container royalty funds should be called wage supplements, not bonuses.

Daggett’s remarks followed a statement Tuesday in which James Capo, chairman and CEO of USMX, said Daggett’s comments last week were “yet another indication that ILA leaders view bargaining as a one-way street that leads only in their direction.”

“It is regrettable that USMX has engaged in misleading rhetoric and scare tactics during the time they should have been negotiating with the ILA. They put more effort into their media statements than in preparing contract documents,” Daggett said.

“It’s not surprising since they invest in building new ships at nearly $200 million each, but don’t put a dime on the table in negotiations to compensate ILA members who helped them accumulate their riches,” he continued. “They deliberately term container royalty a ‘bonus’ when they know it’s a wage supplement — a wage supplement that was negotiated in good faith by the ILA and its employers for the sacrifices made by ILA members.”

Daggett also said the ILA’s 200-member wage scale committee will meet Dec. 10-12 in Delray Beach, Fla., to discuss the contract. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has overseen the talks since September.

Commentary: ILA-USMX: Time for Shippers to Worry (Again) .

Container royalties have emerged as an issue in this year’s negotiations, along with work rules and practices. Carriers’ royalty payments, based on container tonnage, support year-end payments to workers in addition to other ILA benefits.

Employers have proposed to use cap the bonuses, which average $15,500 per worker in East and Gulf Coast ports, and use the extra money to help pay for ILA benefits.

In previous contracts, negotiators have tapped royalty funds to fill shortfalls in various benefit funds. Daggett, however, has said the ILA will not consider removal of caps from cash payments to workers.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com, and follow him at twitter.com/JosephBonney