Tentative ILA-USMX Labor Peace Agreement Reached for East and Gulf Coast Ports

The International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance reached a US East and Gulf Coast ports tentative labor agreement Wednesday, June 6th, after 16 long months of negotiations. The tentative deal reached by dockworkers and port operators is a six-year master contract at East and Gulf Coast ports, ensuring labor peace until 2024. The deal still needs approval from the rank-and-file ILA members, but comes months before the September expiration of the current contract.

The new contract is beneficial to both sides and has alleviated uncertainty and frustration for many, sparing a possible strike and shipment delays. A December disagreement between the ILA and USMX about the contract’s automated terminals definition worried some shippers that a deal might not be reached by the September deadline.

Shippers and ports are trying to avoid the situation that occurred at West Coast ports in 2014, when a labor peace agreement could not be reached between the West Coast’s International Longshore and Warehouse Union and port employees in a timely manner. The resulting cargo delays and severe slowdowns at West Coast ports were felt throughout the country.

If the new contract is approved, all US ports would operate under a labor peace agreement until 2022, due to an existing agreement already in place ensuring peace at US West Coast ports.

Shapiro will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.