Dockers to Shut Down US East Coast, Gulf Coast Ports?

Image Courtesy: Offshore and Home Trade Seamen's Welfare Trust

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has called for a one-day shutdown of US East Coast and Gulf Coast ports to protest over job losses.

The date of the planned industrial action, which includes a march of dockworkers on Washington, was not disclosed.

The protest will be organized due to hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports, which result in reducing the numbers of dockworkers.

Earlier this month, ILA members and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents employers of dockworkers, have begun informal talks about a collective bargaining agreement. The dockworkers’ current contract will run until September 30, 2018.

During the negotiations, the ILA intends to put greater emphasis on local contract bargaining and oppose to fully-automated terminals.

On February 23, the National Retail Federation (NRF) called on the USMX and the ILA to work together to avoid the shutdown of ports proposed by the ILA.

“While the union might have concerns with certain local government actions, engaging in a coastwide shutdown is not the answer. We encourage labor and management to work together and with the government to arrive at a solution that does not disrupt the efficient movement of goods through the nation’s ports,” Jon Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said.

“We applaud the fact that the ILA and the US Maritime Alliance have begun informal discussions on a contract extension well in advance of the current contract expiration, but proposing a shutdown runs counter to this spirit of cooperation and may threaten this positive action,” Gold added.

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