The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has been quiet about negotiations over the last many weeks, but the news broke across the internet that ILA President Harold Daggett has spoken up about ILA’s stance in negotiations with the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX).
The Journal of Commerce (JOC) is headlining with ILA’s Daggett Draws Line on Bonuses.
American Shipper is highlighting that the union is in a position with its negotiators having said they “would not budge” when it comes to opposing USMX on eliminating 8-hour guarantee and overtime provisions.
But the real focus in the American Shipper article is on Daggett’s hard stance, fighting container royalty caps.
American Shipper quotes Daggett as saying USMX “want to grab more money away from the ILA and its members by placing a cap on container royalty.”
While Daggett sees the royalty caps as a way for USMX to take money from the ILA, Carl Horowitz sees the proposed royalty caps as a provision seeking to reduce port corruption in his article where he writes about ILA connections to organized crime and a select few ILA jobs that are extremely high paying for “no/low-work, no/low-show positions.”
I think almost everyone is in agreement that the average dockworker is very hard working and deserving to be fairly compensated.
The problem at the negotiating table is where is the balance between fair pay and compensation that is not feasible for USMX. Employees should be treated and compensated fairly, but it defeats the purpose to pay more than a business can afford for them.
Perhaps that is sensationalizing it a bit, but the U.S. economy is in a delicate recovery period and a strike by about 14,500 union workers at 14 ports would certainly be problematic.
Coming off all the setbacks from Hurricane Sandy that the east coast and its ports suffered, the strike is poised to compound a bad situation.
Thinking about the importance of the east coast ports to the economy especially during the economically crucial time of the holidays, the ILA graciously postponed their strike date to December 30th.
I think many overlook, don’t realize, or forget what a big thing it is that the ILA did by setting aside their frustrations for the good of the country in postponing their strike until the end of the year instead of hitting the picket lines in October when its impact would be felt the strongest.
Most hoped when the strike was postponed that with all that extra time, negotiations would be worked out, an agreement reached, and the strike would be altogether cancelled.
Now, as Daggett breaks the silence and we hear words like “would not budge” and “lines drawn” that optimism is being chipped at.
Compromises will have to be made on both sides for this issue to be resolved. That is, after all, how negotiations work. The question is will both sides make compromises acceptable enough to the other in time to stop the strike and allow imports and exports to ship smoothly.