The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and U.S. Maritime Alliance are expected to resume contract negotiations this week with the assistance of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Concilliation Service, after a week of talks between the union and local employers about issues in individual ports.
Sources say little headway was made last week in talks with the New York Shipping Association where employers are attempting to bring costs and productivity more in line with other U.S. East and Gulf coast ports.
The master contract on the handling of containerized cargo at 14 ports expires next Wedneday on Feb. 6. Originally scheduled to expire last Sept. 30, the contract has been extended twice by the ILA and USMX as they try to forge a new labor pact.
"Negotiations are not going particularly well right now," another source told American Shipper
late last week. "It is not that they are going that bad, it is just that it is kind of stuck in neutral and we are running out of daylight.
"I'm not very optimistic of the deal getting done by Feb. 6. So we may have another extension. And there may be some sort of work stoppage as well. But right now I think it is a jump ball," the source added, saying the negotiations this week with USMX "should be clarifying." - Chris Dupin