NEW YORK The
International Longshoremens Association (ILA) and U.S.
Maritime Alliance (USMX) have reached a tentative agreement,
avoiding a work stoppage that would have affected operations at
14 East and Gulf coast ports.
The tentative "master agreement"
is subject to the ratification procedures of both parties, as
well as deals reached by a number of local unions, according to
the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).
"Those local negotiations are
ongoing and will continue without interruption to any port
operation. Out of respect for the parties ratification
processes and consistent with the agencys long-standing
confidentiality policy, we will not disclose any details
concerning the substantive provisions that have been reached,"
FMCS director George H. Cohen said in a statement.
"I can report that the tentative
agreement reflects the culmination of good-faith negotiations
in which the parties successfully accommodated strongly held
competing positions because of their commitment to problem
solving. Again, collective bargaining has proven its worth by
avoiding a potential work stoppage that would have had a severe
negative impact on the nations economy," he added.
ILA president Harold J. Daggett
believes that the unions members "will be satisfied with
the results of our negotiating efforts," he said in a
"Although the two sides cannot
release complete details of this still-unfinished contract, I
can assure my membership that the protections for our
jurisdiction and increased benefits and wages were achieved,"
Daggett said. "We have come away from these master contract
negotiations with landmark agreements on automation, protection
of chassis work and powerful jurisdiction language."
The details of the tentative
master contract agreement will be made available for ILA
members to review and approve upon finalization of the full
contract package, including master and local agreements, he
The USMX couldnt be
reached for comment.
The current master contract,
which covers 15,000 container workers, was set to expire Feb.
6. The deadline was extended from Dec. 28 in order to prevent
ground containerized shipments from coming to a halt at 14
major ports on the East and Gulf coasts (
amm.com, Dec. 28).
Joseph Curto, president of the
New York Shipping Association (NYSA), congratulated the ILA and
USMX on the master agreement. The NYSA is still in discussions
with the ILA over a regional agreement.
"On the local level, there are a
number of complex issues that the parties will be addressing.
The good news is that bargaining is continuing and the
day-to-day work in the ports facilities will go on
without disruption," Curto said in an e-mail to