NEW YORK The International Longshoremens Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) have taken another step toward a new master contract covering 15,000 workers at 14 major East and Gulf coast ports after both groups approved a tentative agreement March 13.
"I am extremely pleased to announce that (the) parties have approved their tentative agreement for a successor master agreement," Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director George H. Cohen said in a statement. "This monumental result ... paves the way for six years of stable labor management relations covering the Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports."
The two sides reached the tentative agreement in early February (amm.com, Feb. 4). The agreement must still be ratified by the memberships of both organizations, according to the statement.
The two sides narrowly avoided a strike in late December by extending the timeline for negotiations by some five weeks (amm.com, Dec. 28).
One of the issues previously holding up an agreement was container royalties, which are paid by carriers to the union for containerized shipments (amm.com, Dec. 21).
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the carriers will fund for the next six years annual royalty payments of $211 million, the amount paid in 2011, plus up to an additional $14 million for administrative expenses. Any amount exceeding $225 million will be shared equally between the two sides, according to a joint statement by the ILA and USMX.
The new agreement also calls for a $1-per-hour wage increase for workers in 2014, 2016 and 2017, the groups said.
In addition to the master contract, ILA and the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) have reached a tentative agreement on a local contract for 3,250 workers at ports in New York and New Jersey, according to the joint statement.