Longshoremen reach deals in New York, Halifax

   The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and employers represented by the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) said Tuesday they have reached tentative agreement on a six-year local contract for the Port of New York and New Jersey.
   The deal in New York comes on the heels of a tentative master contract agreement reached last month by the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) for longshoremen working at ports from Maine to Texas. The current contracts expire on Sept. 30.
    Both the master contract with USMX and the contract covering local issues with the NYSA must be ratified by rank-and-file longshoremen and approved by employers.
    “New York is the largest and in many respects the most complex port on the East and Gulf coasts. We have reached a tentative agreement that is beneficial to both sides,” said Harold J. Daggett, ILA president, and John Nardi, president of NYSA, in a joint statement. “We are pleased that we could finalize this by the July 10, 2018 target set after the tentative master contract agreement was reached."
      Separately, the Halifax Employers Association (HEA) said ILA members from three locals in that port had ratified a contract that will run through the end of 2020. Though members of the same international union, ILA members in Canada negotiate their contracts separately from workers in the United States and with different employer groups.
   Richard Moore, the president and chief executive officer of the HEA, said the new collective agreement in Halifax covers about 500 regular union members and 300 casual workers for a three-year term running retroactively from Jan. 1 of this year to Dec. 31, 2020.
   The new Halfax contract includes an annual 2.75 percent increase in the base wage rate, an increase in the pension and welfare trust fund tonnage assessment in each of the three years and extension of a Midwest cargo rebate agreement.
   In the Port of New York and New Jersey, about 3,521 ILA members worked as longshoremen, checkers or maintenance workers in the 2017 contract year, according to the annual report of the NYSA. A USMX presentation from 2017 indicated that its current master contract with the ILA covers about 14,500 port workers.
   Details of the tentative Local New York and New Jersey agreement were not made available.
   Talks about local issues could be more difficult in some other jurisdictions. At Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., and surrounding ports, the ILA is pressing its effort to regain jobs that have been lost to non-ILA employers. In order to achieve its objectives at those terminals along the Delaware River, the ILA said last month, “One strategy may be to allow the ILA in the Port of Philadelphia and Wilmington to ‘carve itself out’ of the ILA-USMX master contract, freeing the membership there to exercise their right to strike and freedom of assembly against non-ILA and non-union companies.”