What’s at Stake
The longshore industry plays a vital role in the flow of international trade and commerce, the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. The 14 East and Gulf Ports alone support 14,500 jobs for ILA members and more than half a million additional jobs directly related to the shipping industry. In all, the industry generates economic activity that accounts for more than two million jobs, $98 billion in wages and $11 billion in state and local tax revenue.
USMX’s 43 members – carriers, marine terminal operators and port associations – are committed to protecting the industry’s market share on the East and Gulf Coasts and its ability to compete in a global economy while continuing to provide jobs to ILA members. With an average wage of $50 an hour, ILA workers earn more than twice the average union wage in the country.
Since 1977 the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. (USMX) and its predecessor organizations have successfully negotiated contracts with the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) without any disruptions to service. This year it is imperative that we do the same. East and Gulf Coast ports support hundreds of thousands of jobs and are crucial to both national and local economies.
Both sides - labor and management - recognize the importance of reaching a timely agreement to ensure that more than 110 million tons of import and export containerized cargo continues to move each year through ports from Boston and New York to Charleston and Houston.
The Road to Success
To succeed, the industry will need to introduce new technology to port operations – technology that will increase the capacity of the ports, improve efficiency and promote business growth, which in the end is the best possible guarantee of jobs.
The expansion of the Panama Canal and increasing volumes of U.S.-bound cargo from Asia offer a great opportunity for growth for the East and Gulf Coast ports. But without the productivity improvements that technology can help deliver, ships carrying that cargo will find somewhere else to go. And that’s an outcome that neither the ILA nor USMX wants to see.
The USMX and the ILA have worked closely together for decades to create a climate of stability that has helped us attract and maintain business to the ports. At USMX, we’re committed to continuing that level of cooperation during the current round of negotiations and to reaching agreement on a contract that addresses the challenges we face and, in the end, is fair to both sides.
- March 2012 – USMX and ILA begin negotiations
- September 30, 2012 – Current Master Contract expires
- December 29, 2012 - Contract extension expires
- February 1, 2013 - Tentative agreement reached on new Master Contract