The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and employers in the Port of New York and New Jersey on Thursday reached a tentative agreement on local contract issues.
Jim McNamara, an ILA spokesman, said the agreement with employers represented by the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) is "subject to some tweaking," but will be presented to local union officials next week when its 200-plus wage scale delegates meet to vote on a tentative master contract covering 14 ports on the East and Gulf coasts.
"ILA & NYSA Reach Tentative Agreement on 6-year local contact. NY-NJ ILA Wage Scale Delegates to Review Details on Tuesday in Tampa," read a post on the union's Facebook page.
McNamara said additional details were not immediately available.
However, a press release sent out by the ILA and NYSA late yesterday said "New York Shipping Association have reached a tentative agreement on a local contract covering some 4,500 workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey," adding that the two parties "have produced a settlement that both sides agree will protect ILA members into the future and will allow NYSA-member shippers and carriers to remain competitive in the marketplace."
The local negotiations with the NYSA, the group that represents employers in the Port of New York and New Jersey, were considered to be the most challenging in the nation because of management's desire to change local work practices to help make the port more competitive.
Earlier in the week, various shipping industry executives, expressed dismay over reports they were hearing about lack of progress on the local talks.
On Feb. 1, the ILA and U.S. Maritime Alliance announced they had reached tentative agreement on a new, six-year master contract covering about 14,500 ILA workers, and the two sides agreed to keep ports operating normally while negotiations on local contract issues continued. The agreement is subject to formal ratification by both sides and to the successful conclusion of negotiations on local contracts.
The ILA scheduled meetings of its "wage scale delegates" - the 200-plus members who will vote on whether to recommend the contract to the full membership - next week in Tampa, Fla., from Tuesday, March 12, through Thursday, March 14.
The ILA's contract with employers represented by USMX expired last September, but the two sides agreed to continue negotiations assisted by members of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). After several extension they reached a deal and avoided any sort of work stoppage.
After the master contract agreement was reached, the two sides gave themselves until March 1 to finish local talks; then agreed to a further extension until March 8 "to coincide with the Wage Scale meetings."
Following next week’s Master Contract meetings, the ILA said it hopes to schedule a date for ratification of both the master contract and local contracts for its members on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. - Chris Dupin