Dockworkers, Port Operators Edge Closer to Ratifying Contract
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, March 18, 2013
HIGH POINT - Unionized dockworkers at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports edged closer to ratifying a new contract with port operators last week as talks on working conditions at specific ports were concluded.
At week's end, the wage scale committee of the International Longshoremen's Assn. was debating whether to recommend ratification of the pact to rank-and-file members.
If ratified, the new agreement would provide labor peace at the ports through Sept. 30, 2018.
The most recent contract expired last September, but has been extended several times while the two sides continued to negotiate.
If the ports were to shut down, furniture importers could be severely impacted since the affected ports are heavily used by companies based in the southeastern U.S.
Some shipments could be re-routed through West Coast ports, whose workers are represented by a different union whose labor contract doesn't expire until 2014. However, importers feared West Coast ports would quickly become congested, causing massive delays in receiving their imported furniture.
However, most furniture logistics executives appeared confident the contract would be ratified and no work stoppage would take place.
According to the ILA website, the new contract includes wage increases of $1 per hour in October 2014, October 2016 and October 2017. In addition, dockworkers will continue to get health care coverage at no cost.
The United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents port operators and ocean carriers, says the average longshoreman's wage currently is $50 per hour, including benefits.
The most contentious issue, however, was container royalty payments, which are supplemental wages based on the weight of the cargo handled by each member. Such payments can add as much as $10,000 annually to a dockworker's paycheck.
The two sides eventually agreed that union members would receive $211 million in container royalties for each year of the contract, and an additional $14 million would be set aside for administrative expenses.
Container royalties in excess of those amounts would be evenly split by the union and USMX, according to the union's website.
The contract also allows union members to continue to perform truck chassis maintenance and repair work at some ports, and also includes language to protect dockworkers whose jobs have been eliminated because of new technology and automation at various terminals.
Most Recent Resources
- Getting the most out of offline leads
- Free Shipping and the Importance of Onsite Promotion
- Should Branded Manufacturers Participate in Flash Sales?
- Rugs 101 - Special Edition
- How Big Is Your Label
- Choosing a Web Site Developer
- Convergence: Tie Your Online & Offline Experience...
- Social Networks to Social Shopping
- Why Brands and Their Retailers are Facebook’s Biggest...
- Web Based Intelligence Gathering
- The Future of Tablets
- Shopatron: Bicycles & eCommerce
- A Guide to Holiday eCommerce Success
- Mattress Buying 101 - Connecting with Consumers
- Designing Your Brand’s Website for eCommerce
- Global Sourcing in 2010: Doing More With Less
- Comparing Four Options for Turning Web Site Traffic into...
- Are You Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season? A Branded...
- Design, Develop, Deliver: The Three D's to Digitally...