Members of the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which recently negotiated a new six-year master contract with the International Longshoremen’s Association on behalf of the U.S. East and Gulf Coast dockworker employers, ratified the new contract Wednesday afternoon.
The approval came eight days after ILA members voted to ratify the contract, which covers 14,500 port works on the East and Gulf coasts.
The contract was approved by representatives from 43 container carriers, terminal operators and port associations. They met near the Newark International Airport.
“The final approval of the master contract will come as welcome news to shippers, shipping companies, port operators and the tens of thousands of American workers whose livelihood depends on the smooth operation of the ports,” said David F. Adam, USMX chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
“Throughout the course of the negotiations both sides recognized the stakes involved and the importance of reaching an agreement that would ensure the unfettered movement of the more than 110 million tons of containerized cargo shipped in and out of the ports each year,” he added.
In addition to the three $1-an-hour wage increases over the life of the new master contract, there are also guarantees that carriers will fund the annual container royalty payments at 211 million, the amount paid in 2011, plus up to an additional $14 million for administrative expenses, and share equally with the ILA any container royalties that exceed $225 million.
Another provision of the agreement protects the jobs of workers displaced by the introduction of new technology and automation at the ports. The ILA will also maintain jurisdiction over chassis maintenance and repair work within marine terminals and port areas covered by the contract.