By  on December 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — The United States Maritime Alliance, or USMX, andthe International Longshoremen’s Association resumed talks Wednesday inan effort to reach a contract deal and prevent an end-of-year portstrike stretching from Maine to Texas.

George Cohen, director ofthe Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service, said Monday that bothsides had agreed to return to the bargaining table at his urgingfollowing the breakdown of talks on Dec. 18 over the issue of containerroyalties, a supplemental, per-unit fee that has been in ILA contractssince the Sixties as a balance to automation. The ILA noted last weekthat USMX wants to place a cap on the amount of money that is paid toILA members through various container royalty funds annually. ContainerRoyalty is collected by the amount of tons of containerized cargo ILAmembers handle. A total of $4.85 is collected on each ton ofcontainerized cargo handled and is distributed to ILA workers as part ofa wage supplement and to the ILA members’ health-care fund.

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