ILA Ready to Resume Negotiations

Tuesday January 29, 2013

The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) has said it is "ready to resume negotiations with [the United States Maritime Alliance] USMX this week," in a posting on the association's official Facebook page.

Talks over the $1.8 billion master contract covering some 14,500 jobs on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts are set to resume today, and within 12 hours the post had already attracted a number of supportive comments and scores of "likes."

It was one of only a few comments on the negotiations by the parties involved since a Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) statement earlier this month saying that the talks held mid-month had "made progress."

FMCS did not release further details of the talks, other than saying the parties had agreed discussions between them will to continue.

Negotiations will now be focused on reaching an agreement before the new "container cliff" deadline of February 6, 2013 - after which the ILA have threatened to strike if no agreement is reached.

The Journal of Commerce said the talks have reached a "crucial point."

Ship & Bunker understands that local agreements are now key to the approval of a coastwide contract, with the contract between ILA and the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) the biggest and the most contentious of those.