The president of the International Longshoremen's Association has accused employers of trying to turn his fellow union members against him.
"I am very disappointed that you chose to engage in personal attacks against me, the ILA’s Chief Labor Negotiator," wrote ILA President Harold Daggett in a letter
to James Capo, chief executive officer of the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which is negotiating a new contract for stevedoring companies and steamship lines with the ILA.
Daggett said he wrote the letter in response to a USMX memorandum
issued last week in which Capo said Daggett "appears to be less-than-committed to engaging in meaningful bargaining."
"I view your letter as a thinly veiled attempt to try to turn the ILA Wage Scale Delegates against me," Daggett said.
Capo had complained last week that Daggett has "adamantly refused to negotiate or even discuss these or any other issues at the bargaining table unless management first agrees to his demands" related to issues involving automation of container terminals, container weights, chassis and ILA jurisdiction, but Daggett said those issues "did not originate with me. They were discussed and agreed upon at the March 2012 ILA Wage Scale Committee meetings."
He said Capo has declined to address the committee and invited him to speak with the wage scale delegates on June 27-29, when they are scheduled to meet in Delray Beach, Fla.
"Your letter states that management’s goal is a straight forward one to maintain your market share by increasing productivity and efficiency. The ILA’s goal is also straight forward: to protect the ILA’s members and their families from the impact of new technology. Your letter finds fault with the ILA’s position on the issues of new technology, chassis pools and container weights on the ground that the ILA’s position would reduce productivity and add unnecessary costs," Daggett said.
"I have been in this industry over 40 years and know firsthand how technology has affected our membership. Yet every time I raise this issue, you state that the ILA has sufficient rights in the current Master Contract. The current provision needs to be strengthened, especially if USMX wants the ILA to agree to a multiyear agreement," he said.
He added "you may be looking forward to retire and leave the industry at the end of this year (Capo has announced plans to retire), but my members want to preserve their jobs for the length of the new contract. Your true goal seems to be productivity for the shippers and unemployment for the ILA," Daggett said.
The ILA is demanding that all inbound containers be weighed for safety reasons and to assure container royalty payments are made to the union based on accurate freight weights. Capo's letter had questioned the practicality of weighing all containers at the pier, but Daggett said such a policy would "assure that the ILA funds are not shortchanged monies and help save lives on the highways."
"With respect to chassis pools, the ILA’s concern is that carriers will sell their chassis and the ILA will lose that bargaining unit work. We have to address this issue to protect the bargaining unit," Daggett said. - Chris Dupin