“Throughout the course of the negotiations, the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) has given due consideration to ILA demands and shown its willingness to compromise on issues such as automation and chassis repair,” says James A. Capo, USMX chairman and CEO. “It is disappointing that ILA negotiators have refused to give the same consideration to issues that concern USMX and the employers it represents.”
Capo continued, “The ILA leadership’s uncompromising posture is contrary to the cooperation that has characterized bargaining and that for more than three decades has resulted in nine new Master Contracts without a single strike or coast-wide work stoppage.
“The ILA leadership’s latest missive on the negotiations is yet another indication that ILA leaders view bargaining as a one-way street that leads only in their direction.
“It’s incredible that they continue to defend antiquated work rules, manning and other practices that have made many of the East and Gulf Coast ports prohibitively expensive, harming our ability to compete and threatening the viability of port operations.
“The current economic reality demands that we improve efficiency and productivity at the ports. It also requires that we begin to control container royalty payments that have risen dramatically since they were first established in 1960, totaling $211 million in 2011 or an average of $10 per man hour. Employers are not seeking to eliminate these bonuses, only to cap them and use the extra money to help pay for benefits for ILA workers.
“We accept the fact that it will take time to change the inefficient work rules and practices that have built up over many years. But it will take meaningful discussions about these challenges to reach agreement on a new Master Contract, one that will preserve thousands of well-paying jobs averaging $124,138 a year in wages and benefits and ensure the viability of the ports for years to come," says Capo.