ILA Strike Talks & Negotiations Progress

A 90-contract extension averted a possible ILA (International Longshoremen’s Association) strike that had been looming as a possibility for months. If the strike went through, ports across North America would have been affected greatly, including on the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast, especially with the Christmas season gearing up shortly. The current contract extension, which was  agreed on between the union and the USMX (US Maritime Alliance), lasts until December 29th. At that point, if a new contract is not agreed upon, there could be a possible strike from the ILA. If a strike were to commence, it would have an impact on commerce and shipping rates. For example, in 2002, a similar strike resulted in near $1 Billion losses a day.

That’s why in October 2012, both sides have been negotiating constantly. A 5-day negotiation peroid between the ILA and USMX was deemed to be “productive”, although no formal agreement has been made yet. George H Cohen of the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), wrote that both parties were “making good progress on a number of difficult issues”. He also stated that there is no further comment on the negotiations at this time. Ever since talk of the possible strike began over the summer, both sides have been meeting oftenand negotiating for a new contract. A new contract before the December 29th Deadline would be positive for the ocean freight industry in the US.

Over 65,000 Longshoremen in 200 local affiliates across North America (including the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes) comprise the current membership of the ILA.