By Matt Tomsic
Published Feb. 18, 2013
A union that represents East Coast dockworkers — including those at the S.C. State Ports Authority — have released details about the master contract tentatively agreed to by the union and ocean carriers.
The International Longshoremen’s Association and U.S. Maritime Alliance announced the agreement in early February. The contract affects dockworkers at East and Gulf coast ports, but ports authorities are not parties to the negotiations. The longshoremen’s association has released some details, which are subject to its membership accepting the contract. Dockworkers at the local longshoremen’s chapter were unavailable for comment.
The new contract will run through September 2018; it will provide a $1 per hour wage increase in October 2014, another $1 per hour wage increase in 2016 and a third $1 per hour wage increase in 2017, according to the longshoremen’s union. New employees will start at $20 per hour, and health care coverage will continue at no cost for eligible employees.
The union and ocean carriers also reached an agreement on container royalties, which was one of the sticking points to negotiations. Container royalties will be split evenly between the maritime alliance and the dockworkers, and there is a minimum guarantee of $211 million in container royalties for each year of the contract.
Dockworkers and ocean carriers have been negotiating their new labor contract since September 2012, when the contract was set to expire. They extended it twice before reaching the agreement in February.
The two sides had been negotiating a new contract to replace the last contract, which began Oct. 1, 2004, and received a two-year extension in 2009. It covers longshoremen from Texas to Maine and affects a couple thousand workers directly in Charleston. As the contract’s expiration date neared, dockworkers and ocean carriers faced a potential strike at East Coast ports.