ILA Plans for ‘Marathon’ Talks

ILA Plans for ‘Marathon’ Talks

International Longshoremen’s Association negotiators apparently plan to stay longer at this week’s negotiations on a coastwide contract than they did last week when they cut short bargaining on New York-New Jersey local issues.

“ILA Officers anticipating marathon hours this week in negotiations with United States Maritime Alliance,” the union said Sunday in a posting on Twitter.

ILA spokesman James McNamara said the tweet underscored the importance the union is attaching to this week’s scheduled three days of negotiations with USMX on a master contract covering dockworkers in East and Gulf coast ports.

“The ILA is prepared for at least three full days of negotiations,” McNamara said.

A 20-member committee of ILA representatives is scheduled to resume federally mediated bargaining Tuesday in Galloway, N.J., with a small committee representing USMX, the employers’ coastwide umbrella organization.

The ILA and USMX agreed last month to extend their coastwide master contract and supplemental local agreements through Feb. 6. The extension averted a threatened year-end strike. It was the second extension of the contract, originally set to expire last Sept. 30.

The latest extension followed tentative agreement between the ILA and USMX reached general agreement on carrier-paid container royalties that provide cash payouts to ILA members.

Despite the deal on royalties, the union and employers remain at odds over another key issue — work rules and practices in the union’s supplemental local agreement for Port of New York and New Jersey.

Complete coverage of ILA-USMX negotiations

Both sides have said their approval of a coastwide contract would be contingent on successful negotiation of local agreements. The largest and most contentious of those local contracts is between the ILA and the New York Shipping Association.

ILA President Harold Daggett and his lieutenants walked shortly after the start of two days of scheduled negotiations last week with the NYSA. Daggett objected to the NYSA’s proposed changes in work rules and staffing requirements, including provisions that provide 24/7 pay for some workers.

It’s likely that New York-New Jersey issues will be raised in this week’s bargaining session. Several principals in the ILA-NYSA local negotiations, including Daggett and NYSA President Joseph Curto, also are members of the small committees of the union and USMX that are meeting this week on the coastwide contract.

Curto said after the ILA-NYSA talks broke off that he believed there still was time to reach a local agreement for New York-New Jersey by Feb. 6 if the two sides could resume bargaining on “things important to the Port of New York and New Jersey, namely archaic work practices and overstaffing.”

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