USMX Responds to ILA Demand for Final OfferSeptember 2, 2012
In a letter dated August 30, 2012, ILA President Daggett demanded a final offer from USMX for an ILA Wage Scale vote. USMX Chairman Capo's response of August 31 is posted below:
Via Email & FedEx
August 31, 2012
Mr. Harold J. Daggett, President
International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO
5000 W. Side Avenue
North Bergen, NJ 07047
Dear President Daggett:
I am in receipt of your letter dated August 30th, in which you reiterate your demand for a final offer from USMX for consideration by your Wage Scale Committee. I'm not sure how the ILA can expect a final offer when we have been unable to engage in any comprehensive negotiations for a new contract, including economic issues.
At the previous negotiating sessions, most of the discussion centered around the ILA's demands regarding automation and chassis. After a great deal of effort and a willingness to compromise on the part of management, we were able to agree to reach agreement on both of those issues. The ILA had made it very clear how these agreements were absolutely critical to being able to successfully conclude an agreement on a new master contract.
When we met during the week of August 20th, USMX presented the issues that we believed were critical to successfully reaching an agreement. Those issues all center around inefficiencies that have crept into our operations over the years. I'm referring to archaic work rules and manning practices, and the system of guarantees and overtime pay practices that result in millions of dollars being paid for time not worked. These inefficiencies are causing many of our ports to become prohibitively expensive, harming our competitive ability and threatening the long term viability of our operations. USMX was hopeful that we would receive the same consideration from the ILA as we had given it on its critical issues. Instead, our presentations were simply rejected without any consideration, and when management objected to this lack of consideration, the ILA responded with a threat to strike.
Many of these issues are the same ones cited in a recent report compiled by the Waterfront Commission of New York and New Jersey. I'm somewhat at a loss to understand why the ILA would appear to be willing to have an outside agency attempt to force a solution on the parties, rather than have the parties address the issues in the collective bargaining arena, at the bargaining table, where they properly belong.
Once again, the position of USMX is perfectly clear. We stand ready and willing to engage in comprehensive bargaining to reach agreement on a new contract, including all economic issues. However, that comprehensive bargaining must include substantive discussion on the issues raised by USMX above. We must discuss putting programs in place that will correct these issues over a period of time.
At this time, USMX does not believe it is in a position to present a final offer to the ILA for consideration by its Wage Scale Committee.
UNITED STATES MARITIME ALLIANCE, LTD.
James A. Capo
Chairman & CEO