The International Longshoremen’s Association voted on Tuesday to approve a new, long-term labor contract covering port operations along the East and Gulf Coast, a move the National Retail Federation said is “welcomed news” to retailers.
Last fall, the previous contract between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance—known as USMX—expired, and prolonged and troubled negotiations prompted concerns regarding a potential strike that retailers and officials said would have had a devastating effect on the economy, NJ.com reports.
“The nation’s ports are our economic lifeline to the world,” the NRF said. “Today’s vote will bring much-needed certainty and efficiency to East and Gulf Coast port operations and secure the United States’ position in the global supply chain. The ILA and United States Maritime Alliance should be commended for reaching today’s pinnacle vote, and doing so without engaging in any disruption, stoppage, lockout or strike.”
The six-year deal includes a $1 per hour increase in shippers’ contributions to health benefits, protection against layoffs and job cuts resulting from technological developments and continued representation of truck chassis maintenance workers by the ILA, according to NJ.com.
Union dockworkers voted on two separate measures, one of which was the ILA-USMX contract and the other related agreements regarding individual ports, which were negotiated separately by regional shipping groups and union officials.