Representatives from the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance on Wednesday approved a tentative six-year master contract for dockworkers on the East and Gulf Coasts after nearly a year of complex on-and-off negotiations.  “I am extremely pleased to announce that today the parties have approved their tentative agreement for a successor master agreement,”  U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said in a statement “that paves the way for six years of stable labor-management relations covering all the Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports.”

The announcement came after 200-plus members of the ILA’s Wage Scale Committee voted on Tuesday to recommend approval of the six-year agreement.  The deal was agreed to after the union and the New York Shipping Association worked out remaining issues on a supplemental local contract that covers 4,500 workers at the Port of New York-New Jersey.

The ILA has scheduled an April 9 ratification vote on the coast-wide master contract.  Approximately 14,500 ILA members are eligible to vote on the six-year master contract and on supplemental local agreements covering work rules and other port specific issues.  The master contract must also be approved by the container carriers, terminal operators, and ports associations that make up the United States Maritime Alliance.