U.S. retailers and labor leaders hailed the approval of a six-year longshoremen’s labor contract as a return of stability and certainty to port operations from Boston to Houston.
The approval “is welcomed news to the nation’s retailers, who have been on pins-and-needles for the past year due to the possibility of a supply chain disruption along the 14 East and Gulf Coast container ports,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation.
The 14,500-member International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO, approved the contract by an overwhelming margin, which covers operations at 14 ports, the ILA said.
“ILA members won handsome gains in the new six-year agreement, including wage increases totaling $3 an hour spread out over the life of the agreement that will, by the final year of the new contract, bring their hourly rate of pay to $35.00 an hour,” the union said in a statement.
“Lower tiered workers will enjoy an even higher wage percentage increase as their pay progression scale was shortened to six years from nine years in the new agreement. Thus, a new ILA member earning a base pay of $20.00 an hour at the start of the 6-year contract will increase to $35.00 an hour by the end of the sixth year of the contract.”
The last contract, which expired on Sept. 30, 2012, gave longshoremen an average annual salary -- including benefits -- of $124,138.
Members of the United States Maritime Alliance, which represents 43 container carriers, direct employers and port associations, are expected to approve the contract when they vote on April 17.
Mike Obel works as Senior Editor, Copy Chief. Before that he was Markets Editor, assigning, editing and writing about business, markets, finance and economics. Before coming...