Talks Aimed At Resolving A Labor Dispute That Threatens Closure Of 14 U.S. Ports Continue

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Talks to resolve a labor dispute that could lead to the closing of 14 U.S. ports on the East and Gulf coasts look to be progressing in a positive direction. George H. Cohen, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Director, an independent U.S. government agency that works to promote labor-management peace and cooperation, issued a statement on Wednesday regarding negotiations between the United States Maritime Alliance and International Longshoremen’s Association.

“I am pleased to report that the parties met today under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and discussed a number of major issues. As a result of today’s discussions, the parties will have their respective committees review their positions and analyze associated costs. Meanwhile, the parties’ subcommittees will continue to meet in an effort to resolve additional outstanding issues. Again, I wish to commend the parties for their hard work and their commitment to this process,” read the statement.

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) are arguing over the renegotiation a $1.8 billion master contract that covers around 14,500 jobs on the East and Gulf Coasts. ILA, which represents over 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico, and Eastern Canada, had threatened to strike when the agreement that is currently in place was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2012 (the deadline was extended to December 29, 2012) over USMX’s ideas of increasing technology at ports.

USMX, an alliance of U.S. East and Gulf Coast container carriers, direct employers, and port associations, says the longshore workers have a “superior wage and benefits package that places them among the top-paid union workers in the U.S.” and believes the ports need to expand and improve with new technology, so as to attract capital. However, the ILA says its members need protection from automation, which has threatened its workers’ jobs.

Cohen maintained that due to the nature of the negotiations, there will be no further comment on the matter.

Longshore workers are vital in maintaining operations at ports and terminals. They are in charge of loading and unloading maritime trade cargo, which involves great skill and precision to ensure cargo is well balanced and kept safe. If you are a longshore worker and believe you have been wronged by your employer, turn to our maritime law firm for help immediately in filing a case.

Since 1971, Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. has been representing port workers, cargo workers, cruise ship crewmen, and recreational boat workers that have been involved in some form of accident or negligence case. Our maritime lawyers and will do everything possible so your case can end favorably. Whether you need assistance filing a claim regarding wages, a workplace injury, contract benefits, or compensation for disabilities, Lipcon’s lawyers will see to it that your rights are protected and will help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your case.

Call our maritime attorneys today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options and get started on your case.

PHOTO SOURCE: Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Labor