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Here is below your update from JOC on the ILA talks for the East Coast ports:
ILA Walks Out of NY-NJ Talks
Joseph Bonney, Senior Editor | Jan 09, 2013 1:37PM EST
International Longshorman’s association officials broke off two days of scheduled negotiations on a local contract for New York-New Jersey dockworkers after objecting to employers’ proposed changes.
Federally mediated negotiations are still scheduled next week on the coastwide master contract between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance, the umbrella group representing employers in East and Gulf coast ports.
Bargaining between the ILA and the New York Shipping Association on the ILA-NYSA local contract opened Wednesday morning but ended abruptly after sharp disagreements over work practices and other issues.
Union President Harold Daggett and other ILA leaders walked out after the NYSA proposed “revolutionary changes” in work practices at the Port of New York and New Jersey, ILA spokesman James McNamara said.
The NYSA is seeking productivity improvements and changes to work rules, some of which predate containerization. Those work rules require high levels of staffing, including requirements that terminals hire gangs of 15 or 16 workers when only nine or 10 are working at a time.
This week’s bargaining sessions followed a short-term contract extension through Feb. 6. The extension, announced Dec. 28, averted a threatened ILA strike in East and Gulf coast ports during the weekend preceding New Year’s Day.
The ILA and USMX agreed to the extension after reaching tentative agreement on container royalties, the per-ton payments by carriers that support annual payouts to longshoremen.
The agreement on royalties cleared the way for bargaining on work rules and other issues in supplementary local contracts. The most difficult of those negotiations are expected to be in New York-New Jersey, where the ILA is headquartered and employers say costs are by far the highest of any port along the coast.
The rough start to the New York-New Jersey talks will raise concerns among cargo interests, which are watching the negotiations closely. Many shippers diverted cargo or adjusted booking schedules to avoid threatened shutdowns before the contract’s originally scheduled expiration Sept. 30 and again last month.