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Adding insult to injury! There is another general strike at the East Coast ports of the United States!

Samira Samira 2024-06-14 10:06:31

Snny Worldwide LogisticsIt is a logistics company with more than 20 years of transportation experience, specializing in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia and other markets. It is more of a cargo owner than a cargo owner~

Negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the container longshoremen's union at U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, and the employer's representative, the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), have broken down. The breakdown in negotiations centered on Maersk's move to install automated equipment at some ports in an attempt to replace workers. ILA accused Maersk of using automated systems to handle truck operations at its terminal in Mobile, Alabama, without using workers, arguing that this was a clear violation of the agreement between the two parties.


Less than four months before the six-year labor contract between the two parties expires on September 30, the breakdown of the negotiations has intensified labor tensions in the eastern US ports and increased the risk of strikes. The labor contract covers about 45,000 longshoremen on the U.S. East Coast from Boston to Houston, including six of the ten busiest ports in the United States.


Global shipping has been blocked due to some routes being blocked, and freight rates have risen to new highs since the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, labor disharmony at ports in the eastern United States has further intensified the pressure on the shipping industry.


American financial media CNBC pointed out that with the post-epidemic recovery and rising inflation, labor protests in the United States and ports around the world have intensified. The breakdown of the negotiations has further highlighted the issue of terminal automation, that is, the potential threat of automation technology to the jobs of dock workers.


The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) stated in a press release on Monday (10th) that all scheduled new contract negotiation processes this week have been suspended. The union said they discovered that Maersk, the world's second-largest shipping company and parent company of APM terminal operator, was using automated systems to handle truck operations at its terminal in the Port of Mobile, Alabama, without using workers. Union members believe that automation technology is being used not just at Mobile but other ports.


ILA President Harold Daggett stated that they will not tolerate blatant violations of existing agreements during negotiations, especially when they are trying to negotiate a new agreement with USMX. He emphasized that Maersk, as the parent company of APM terminal operator, has only one purpose in using automation systems at Mobile Port, which is to reduce ILA job opportunities through automation.


However, Maersk responded via an email press release that the operations of the APM Terminal have always complied with the provisions of the contract between the two parties, and expressed disappointment that ILA deliberately picked on details to create more bargaining chips. They said they would continue to communicate with relevant parties to resolve concerns.


ILA is the largest longshoremen's union in North America, with 85,000 members. In the past, U.S. East Coast ports were not as prone to protests as they were on the West Coast, but the breakdown of negotiations and the potential strike crisis have put labor relations in this region facing a major test. The last strike at an East Coast port dates back to 1977.