The ITF is reacting with cautious optimism to news that a tentative six-year labour agreement has been reached for workers at the Port of New York. ITF-affiliated union the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA), which represents dock workers in New York and New Jersey, has been in negotiations with the New York Shippers Association for several months over a local contract.
Talks between the ILA and management have fostered the deal on regional working rules and other local issues, which is said to still be in need of some ‘refinement’.
The deal is potentially of significance as it is part of a series of larger talks between the ILA and the US Maritime Alliance of shippers, terminal operators and port authorities. The ILA was forced to threaten strike action during months of tense negotiations over a new master contract for dock workers, before a tentative deal on pay and working conditions was finally reached last month. This is due to be ratified at union committee in Florida.
The master contract is dependent on agreements, like the one in New York, being made in all 15 of the individual ports on the East and Gulf Coast which have ILA representation.
ILA president Harold J. Daggett said: “This deal isn’t written in stone yet but after some tough negotiations it does bring us much closer to where we want to be. With the master contract nearing ratification, securing agreements which properly address the local issues which longshoremen and women have is now the focus for us. Every port is different and these local agreements need to reflect that.”