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ILA suspends talks with USMX, alleges violation of Master Contract

11 Jun '24
2 min read
ILA suspends talks with USMX, alleges violation of Master Contract
Pic: Facebook/International Longshoremen's Association

Insights

  • The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) has announced suspending June 11 talks with the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) amid negotiations of local agreements under the coast-wide Master Contract.
  • USMX members APM Terminals and Maersk Line are utilising a system to autonomously process trucks without ILA labour—a contract violation, it alleged.
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) yesterday announced the suspension of June 11 talks with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) amid ongoing negotiations of local agreements under the coast-wide Master Contract, set to expire on September 30 this year.

ILA cancelled the talks after discovering that APM Terminals, a port operating company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, under Maersk's transport and logistics division, and Maersk Line are utilising an Auto Gate system, which autonomously processes trucks without ILA labour. 

This system, initially identified at the Port of Mobile, Alabama, is reportedly being used in other ports as well. 

"This is another example of USMX members unilaterally circumventing our coast-wide Master Contract. This is a clear violation of our agreement with USMX, and we will not tolerate it any longer," an ILA spokesperson said in a press release.

“There’s no point trying to negotiate a new agreement with USMX when one of its major companies continues to violate our current agreement with the sole aim of eliminating ILA jobs through automation,” said ILA international president Harold J Daggett, who serves as chief negotiator for the union.

ILA said its representatives will not meet with those from USMX until the Auto Gate issue is resolved. 

Additionally, the union is still waiting on results from an audit for the jobs created out of new technology, a report it has been anticipating for almost two contract periods. 

ILA has observed an increasing number of information technology (IT) personnel on marine terminals, with concerns that APM and Maersk's IT departments in Charlotte, North Carolina, are encroaching on their jurisdiction.

"We are not taking this lightly," the ILA cautioned.

The ILA has long expressed deep concern over the impact of automation on jobs, highlighting APM Terminals and Maersk Line’s abuse of the ILA Master Contract, which have led to job losses in various ports.

Daggett criticized President Joe Biden and lawmakers for turning a blind eye to automation and its devastating effect on American workers.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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