The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has scheduled three full days of meetings with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) and will continue beyond if a contract can be reached, says the union.
The ILA announcement states, “Preventing a cap on Container Royalty is one of the key battles facing ILA President Harold J. Daggett as he continues to lead negotiations for the union against United States Maritime Alliance.”
Other issues in the current negotiations that have direct effect on ILA members from Maine to Texas are the eight-hour guarantee and the seven man lashing gang, the union notes
The ILA is critical of USMX's negotiating posturing. "It is regrettable that USMX has engaged in misleading rhetoric and scare tactics during the time they should have been negotiating with the ILA," said Harold Daggett, ILA president. "They put more effort into their media statements than in preparing contract documents. 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."
Daggett continues, "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 says,"USMX has made it clear in negotiations and to the public through their website postings (USMX.com) that they are looking to cut, as an example, an ILA member in Savannah's Container Royalty payment and eliminate an eight hour guarantee for an ILA member in Houston," says Daggett. "They attack work rules in New York and look to strip the seven-man lashing gang in the South Atlantic. We understand that USMX has continually played one port against the other but that strategy will not succeed.”
He adds, "Our ILA is committed to protecting all ILA members affected by this contract." President Daggett continued. "We stand united and will put a full contract package together that meets all our goals at all ports."