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The contract for dockworkers on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast has been extended for 30 days, averting, for now, a strike that could have begun Sunday:
Federal mediators announced Friday morning that a temporary deal had been reached between the International Longshoremen's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance.

The deal adds a 30-day extension to talks between the two parties, averting a shutdown at the ports that oversee 45 percent of commerce, according to a Bloomberg report. Now, the ILA and the USMA have until midnight on Jan. 28 to iron out their differences and come to a long-term deal.

That's not the only movement being reported:
Mediator: Maritime Alliance, Longshoreman's Association agree on container royalty issue, further negotiations on larger deal - @Reuters
@BreakingNews via
If the latter report is correct, the two are likely related; Steven Greenhouse had reported that the president of the International Longshoremen's Association had previously refused a contract extension while the royalty issue remained a source of contention.

President Obama had urged a settlement, but stopped short of saying he would act to prevent a strike.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:10 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so the royalty issue (6+ / 0-)

    that the Maritime alliance made a big deal about is now settled?

    From yesterday's diary:

    The maritime alliance, known as USMX, says it paid $211 million in container royalties to the longshoremen last year, averaging $15,500 per eligible worker. James A. Capo, the alliance’s chairman, said that came to $10 an hour, on top of what he said were already generous wages.

    I am shocked this was done and the strike averted.

    Is it possible unions are now starting to get stronger as the economy improves?

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:20:41 AM PST

    •  love (5+ / 0-)

      Gotta love the longshoremen--they are united--when they threaten a strike, USMX knows they mean it--and therefore, the union is powerful.  In a better world, the longshoremen would take over the AFL/CIO and enforce discipline.  Young Americans need to know to respect picket lines, and respect employee strength.  Right now, employers have all the guns.

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:27:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The USMX has more power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because it isn't like you can outsource unloading cargo containers to Asia.

        My question is how they managed to organize the ports in the southern right to work states. Other than the huge Newport News Shipyard, you have to look long and hard to find a unionized manufacturing facility in the south.

        •  ILA in the South... (0+ / 0-)

          There is a long, complex and fascinating history of ILA organizing in the South.

          Much of it took place before the Depression-era National Labor Relations Act, so organizers faced an extremely hostile environment, both in the workplace and in the courts.

          Under Jim Crow, ILA developed a system of segregated
          all-white and all-black locals in southern ports. I don't think they are entirely integrated even to this day.

        •  ILA in the South.... (0+ / 0-)

          Most of the ILA locals in the South were organized before the Depression-era National Labor Relations Act and the subsequent introduction of right-to-work (for less) laws.

          Most of the southern longshore locals also operated under the rule of Jim Crow, so ports typically had separate all-white locals and all-black locals. This was outlawed in the 1960s,  but vestiges of this remain in some places.

      •  addenda (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How about Trumka proclaiming 2013, "The Year of the Strike"?

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:48:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! the Longshoremen have a proud history: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, suesue

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

        by JayRaye on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 09:59:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  WE NEVER FORGET (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, suesue

          Bloody Thursday
          July 5, 1934
          San Francisco

          Howard Sperry-striking longshoreman
          Nick Bordoise-unemployed cook volunteering
             at ILA strike kitchen

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

          by JayRaye on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:11:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I used to go by the hiring hall on my way to work (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, suesue

            for a couple of years.  They've got the outlines of the murdered union members on the ground outside of the hiring hall.  That was my real introduction to labor history in the US.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:36:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  just the threat works (5+ / 0-)

    The threat to strike is as important as the actual strike, and this shows yet again, how valuable that right is to workers.

  •  Here's the notice my company just received (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leonard145b, JayRaye, Just Bob, AoT
    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20427
    Friday, December 28, 2012                                                                        Contact: John Arnold

    For Immediate Release                                                                              Director of Public Affairs

    Web site:                                                                            Phone: (202) 606-8100

    Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen On United States Maritime Alliance

    And International Longshoremen’s Association Labor Negotiations

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — “I am extremely pleased to announce that the parties have reached
    the agreements set forth below as a result of a mediation session conducted by myself and my
    colleague Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, on Thursday, December
    27, 2012:

    “The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to
    achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement. The parties have further agreed to an
    additional extension of 30 days (i.e., until midnight, January 28, 2013) during which time the
    parties shall negotiate all remaining outstanding Master Agreement issues, including those
    relating to New York and New Jersey. The negotiation schedule shall be set by the FMCS after
    consultation with the parties.”

    “Given that negotiations will be continuing and consistent with the Agency’s commitment of
    confidentiality to the parties, FMCS shall not disclose the substance of the container royalty
    payment agreement. What I can report is that the agreement on this important subject represents
    a major positive step toward achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement. While some
    significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the
    upcoming 30-day extension period.”

    “On behalf of our Agency, I want to thank the parties, especially ILA President Harold Daggett
    and USMX Chairman & CEO James Capo, for their ongoing adherence to the collective
    bargaining process, which has enabled them to avoid the imminent deadline for a work stoppage
    that could have economically disruptive nationwide implications.”

     The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government
    agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation.
    Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides
    mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.

    I had posted this notice in your last diary on the subject just at the same time you posted this.

    But, there's no disclosure of the settlement details of the container royalty issue (though likely IMHO, movement on both sides).

  •  The International Longshoremen's Association (0+ / 0-)

    gives unions a bad name.
    "container royalty"? WTF!

    •  The container royalty is half their pay (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, suesue

      The container companies and port associations that make up the Maritime Alliance have been far apart from the ILA over the terms of a new six-year contract. The sticking point: "Container Royalty." Those payments were offered decades ago as automation started to reduce jobs. Now they can make up to half of the typical longshoreman's salary, about $50,000 a year.

      It's a non-negotiable issue to the union, which said it has offered to compromise on other matters. But the alliance says the payments are a form of overcompensation accruing to a dwindling number of workers. The alliance wants to cut, or kill the payments, altogether.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:02:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  about time (0+ / 0-)

      Do you think abuse should just be for the employer?

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:15:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You clearly don't like unions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      suesue, Just Bob

      You've expressed opposition to the longshore workers and the teachers unions.  Why don't you take your labor hating elsewhere.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 11:38:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ILA members (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      do not get sick or vacation time. If they are not at work they don't get paid. Their insurance benefits are based on the amount of hours they are able to work. If one of them suffers a prolonged illness or disability, they lose their insurance.
      This is not a cushy job. They work 24 hours a day, outside, in all types of weather.
      The pressure they are under to produce is mind numbing. According to Think Progress their work force has been reduced from 35,000 to 3,500.
      Unions built the middle class in this country.
      •  Fact check, please (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I don't think it is true that ILA members do not receive  vacation pay.

        It is my recollection that shipping companies pay regularly into a vacation fund, and individual longshore workers qualify for the benefits based on how many hours they work over the course of a year.


        •  They lost these benefits years ago. (0+ / 0-)

          If they are working off the union shop board, they receive no such benefits.
          Working off the board refers to the job assignment system. Companies order workers and the union assigns the jobs based on seniority.
           However, if they are assigned to what is referred to as a permanent job at a company that offers such benefits, they do receive them.
          I apologize for not having a link. My information comes from personal experience based on family and friends who work for the ILA here in Houston.

          •  I see.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If I understand you correctly, that means some ILA members receive vacation pay and some do not. That sounds right to me.

            There may also be wide variations port to port. I looked on the Hampton Roads Shipping Association site, for example, and saw that their ILA vacation plan applies only to workers in that port. Apparently each port runs its own vacation system, with its own individual rules and regulations on eligibility.  

  •  Free Trade (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, suesue

    The Longshoremen should hold out for every penny they can get to help level the playing field.  Imported manufactured goods are produced overseas with child, prison and starvation rate labor, putting our working class out of a job.  Since our government keeps signing free trade agreements that prevent us from taxing imports, the best way to drive up the cost of such overseas practices is to raise the shipping costs -- including top wages for our remaining longshoremen.  Hang in there, brother.

  •  Solidaridad! (0+ / 0-)

    but labor unions in the USA have never been weaker....

  •  meanwhile (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, suesue

    on the North West Coast, a sullen ILWU work force is laboring under an imposed contract at the grain terminals, with a small army of strikebreakers waiting nearby in cheap motels and on board of non-union tugs.

  •  Longshoremen Work Harder Than Most So They (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Must Demand Good Pay

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