San Francisco: Employer and worker groups from ports on the US east coast and Gulf of Mexico have made an early jump on labour contract talks, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
In an effort to avoid the stalemate that afflicted their west-coast counterparts with eight months of labour-related disruption, the United States Maritime Alliance Ltd (USMX), representing the employers, has opened tentative discussions with the International Longshoremen’s Association, the largest union.
The two sides are way ahead of the curve on this as the most recent contract was put away only in 2013 and runs until September 2018.
According to the Journal’s sources the talks are at the “exploratory” stage. In previous years negotiations have led to a “master agreement” which would then be supplemented by deals at individual ports.
The urge to get things moving early this time was prompted by industry groups representing retailers and manufacturers who use or depend on the ports. They want to avert the chance of a west coast-style gridlock happening out east and down south.
An agenda for more substantial talks is likely to be discussed at the ILA’s annual conference in Puerto Rico in July.