ILA dockworkers ratify Master Contract in coast wide referendum

  • The six year Master Contract proposed by the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA) members, approved by the union's Wage Scale Committee in March, has now won an overwhelming ratification in a coast wide referendum.

The union vote has signified an end to over a year of heated negotiations between the ILA and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX).

“On behalf of ILA members and officers at all ports we’re thrilled this master contract was ratified by an overwhelming margin,” ILA President Harold Daggett said. “We all worked very hard, achieved landmark improvements and protected our members and union for many years.”

New York Shipping Association President Joseph Curto describes the ratification vote as an “evolutionary progression of significant change that will improve the practices for working ships, hiring labour and paying key staff persons.”

The master contract raises the ILA’s hourly pay for containerised and roll-on, roll-off cargo will be increased from US$32 to $35 in three steps. New workers will now advance to the top pay-scale available in six years instead of the previous nine. Employers will have to pay an additional $1 an hour in contribution to local pensions.

The new master contract also secures ILA jurisdiction over repairs in port areas, protects ILA members displaced by new technology, and strengthens the enforcement of overall union jurisdiction. ILA medical benefits, which currently do not offer premiums or carry minimal co-payments, will not change.

The local contract between New York and New Jersey outline productivity goals, replaces open schedules with regular work shifts, creates retirement incentives for older workers and establishes training programs for new hires.

Negotiations continue on local contracts at Hampton Roads, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Ben Oliver Briceno, Staff Writer for Port Technology International

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