RCL Agencies is continuing to monitor the labor negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) as they attempt to settle on a new master contract.
The current collective bargaining agreement has been extended until Dec. 29. Cargo operations at the state-owned marine terminals are continuing per normal and will remain as such as negotiations between the two sides continue.
Last week’s negotiations in Delray Beach, FL, concluded with an agreement to continue meeting on Dec. 18, in Newark, NJ with a small negotiating committee. However, yesterday’s talks were abruptly broken off. The negotiating session was to concentrate mainly on the Container Royalty issue.
These payments that are made to longshoremen based on the weight of containerized cargo. USMX has wanted to cap those payments.
The IlA proposed to USMX that the current contract extension be moved from December 29th to February 1, 2013 provided that management takes the Container Royalty issue off the table.
The management refused this proposal. Dave Adam, senior vice president and chief operating officer of USMX said that the ILA’s demand that the container royalty cap be taken completely off the table “was not acceptable.” He said USMX was willing to extend the contract for another couple of weeks and resume bargaining on Jan. 7, “and talk about all of the open issues, talk about some of the operational and efficiency issues we also have on the table. But the union was not agreeable to that and put unacceptable terms on it.”
Adam said the union rejected a Dec. 10 proposal where USMX offered to guarantee royalties at 2011 levels to all ILA employees who received royalty checks in 2011 for another 25 years.
Bennie Holland, executive vice president of the ILA declared that there will be a strike on the 29th December if the USMX won’t change its mind