ILA, USMX Discuss 'Major Issues'

ILA, USMX Discuss 'Major Issues'

International Longshoremen’s Association and employer representatives discussed “a number of major issues” in two days of contract negotiations this week, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said.

“As a result of these discussions, the parties will have their respective committees review their positions and analyze associated costs. Meanwhile, the parties’ subcommittees will continue to meet in an effort to resolve additional outstanding issues,” FMCS Director George H. Cohen said in a statement.

Cohen commended the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance “for their hard work and their commitment to this process." He would not comment further.

The ILA and USMX agreed last month to extend their Maine-to-Texas contract 90 days past its original Sept. 30 expiration. The extension to Dec. 29 averted the threat of a strike during the pre-holiday peak season.

In addition to the ILA-USMX talks on the coastwide master contract, union and employer representatives along the East and Gulf coasts have been discussing supplemental local or regional contracts.

The most contentious of the local contracts is the one covering the Port of New York and New Jersey, where the New York Shipping Association is seeking changes to work rules and pay practices that require extra staffing and overtime pay.

The master contract covers container and roll-on, roll-off wages, the carrier-paid container royalties that support worker bonuses and benefits, the coastwide medical plan, jurisdiction and other issues.

Local agreements cover breakbulk wages, local pensions and benefits, work rules, and other port-specific issues.