International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) President Harold Daggett has written to ILA members, urging them to ratify a six-year contract agreement covering dockworkers at East and Gulf Coast Ports.  The ILA and United States Maritime Alliance agreed March 13 on a coastwide master contract covering 14,500 ILA members.  Members will vote on the contract April 9.

Daggett said union delegates “achieved a great contract for the rank-and-file members we represent.  Our union worked hard for over a year to bring home a landmark agreement that I am sure our members will ratify.”  Other ILA officials are working to sell the deal to members.

Months of difficult negotiations twice brought the East and Gulf Coast ports to the brink of a strike before an agreement was reached on March 13.  Throughout the negotiations, attention focused on the port of New York and New Jersey.  Neither the union nor employers were willing to sign off on a coast-wide contract without a deal on the supplemental local contract covering work rules and other issues specific to the port.  It has been reported that on the union side some rank-and-file discontent still exists in New York and New Jersey.  Out of the 14,500 ILA members eligible to vote on the new contract, 3,250 are in New York and New Jersey.