This past Wednesday, during a negotiation on the new International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) contract renewal, ILA president Harold Dagget broke off the meeting abruptly and accused employers seeking terminal automation of eliminating dockworker jobs. Dagget said the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) disagreed on the distinction between fully automated terminals and semi-automated terminals that have automated features but are operated by dockworkers. “When they’re talking about fully automated, they mean two or three people on the whole terminal,” he said. “We’re not going to accept that. If they install a computer on any equipment, they need to provide a seat for a longshoreman next to it.”

Dagget said the union is prepared to avoid bargaining until the current contract expires on September 30, 2018. However, they will continue negotiations covering supplemental local issues such as pension, work rules, and other port-specific issues.

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