ILA to oppose fully automated terminals, signalling tough ta

Time: 2017-01-09 13:45
THE US east and Gulf coast International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) said it would oppose any management attempt to fully automate container terminals, signalling tough labour contract ahead.
"We will not submit to anything that eliminates jobs," said ILA president Harold Daggett, ahead of contract talks from February 13 with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), which admires automation achieved in Rotterdam and Hamburg.
"The ILA has no problem with semi-automated terminals - we know that we cannot stop progress," he said.
Mr Daggett said many forms of new technology help workers do their jobs more efficiently, more safely, but without the threat of job elimination.
"We will continue to press for training and retraining for our ILA members. The ILA enters these informal talks more united and stronger than ever. We look to work with our management partners, keeping our industry strong and vibrant, but will not submit to anything that eliminates jobs," he said.
The ILA's current six-year master contract is in place until September 30, 2018, giving the union 20 months to negotiate a new master contract at Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, or extend the current agreement.
Mr Daggett predicts the issue of automation will dominate contract talks.  Full terminal automation eliminates workers from on-site cargo handling with container movements manipulated from distant computer monitors.
The talks with the USMX, which are not formal wage scale meetings, will give both sides a chance to address issues relating to their collective bargaining agreement, reported American Shipper.
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