The International Longshoremen’s Association and its New York Shipping Association (NYSA) announced late yesterday that they had reached a tentative agreement on a local contract after intense negotiations in Newark, New Jersey this week.  The agreement covering New York-New Jersey dockworkers still requires ratification.  Local contracts cover work rules, staffing, pensions, and other port-specific issues.

The New York-New Jersey local port agreement is key to the master contract for East and Gulf Coast ports as the tentative agreement reached on February 1 between the ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance on the six-year master contract is contingent on the completion of all local contracts and then ratification by both sides.

The ILA wage scale committee, which is comprised of 200 delegates from the East and Gulf ports,  is scheduled to meet next Tuesday through Thursday in Tampa, Florida.  Completion of the local contract for New York-New Jersey clears the way for the wage scale committee delegates to recommend rank-and-file ratification of the master contract.  The ILA and NYSA said some local contract items “need further refinement,” but officials said those could be worked out in Tampa.

The ILA said that, after next week’s meetings, it hopes to schedule a date for rank-and-file votes on both the coastwide master contract and supplemental local agreements.

The current master contract, originally set to expire last September 30, has been extended twice after threatened strikes.