Strength of ILA Master Contract That Protects Members Against Automation For Six Years

ILWU workers staged a protest outside the port building in San Pedro Thursday January 24, 2019 where harbor commission will be taking up an item that would bring more automation to one of its terminals. Mark Mendoza ILWU Local 13 president speaks to the crowd. Photo By Chuck Bennett

ILWU workers staged a protest outside the port building in San Pedro Thursday January 24, 2019 where harbor commission will be taking up an item that would bring more automation to one of its terminals. Mark Mendoza ILWU Local 13 president speaks to the crowd. Photo By Chuck Bennett

NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (January 25, 2019) Any doubts about ILA President Harold J. Daggett strong opposition to fully-automated terminals and the value of the ILA’s new Six-Year Master Contract extension signed last summer, were erased when news of a major protest on Thursday by longshore workers belonging to Local 13, International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Los Angeles was reported. The central issue of the protest by West Coast longshoremen was the threat of automated terminals.

ILA President Daggett fought long and hard throughout negotiations against the construction of any fully automated terminals at Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. The ILA leader was successful and convinced the ILA’s employer group -United States Maritime Alliance – to make it part of the new six-year agreement.

The Port of Long Beach, California already features a fully automated port and now ILWU members are actively protesting the expansion of automated terminals to other port areas. According to the west coast publication, “The Daily Breeze,” ILWU members belonging to Local 13 picketed outside a meeting of the L.A. Board of Harbor Commissions on Thursday, to protest the approval of a permit that will allow a major terminal operator to increase automation at the Port of Los Angeles.

“Leaders for the International Longshore and Warehouse union argued that adding automation could eliminate thousands of jobs and damage the larger community,” the news report said.

ILA members, meanwhile, are applauding their own agreement with USMX that protects ILA workers from loss of jobs and livelihoods for six years. ILA members are so grateful for their own agreement that they have started a Facebook campaign to have ILA President Daggett’s May 12th Birthday recognized as an official ILA holiday.

And the ILA’s achievement has not gone unnoticed by dockworkers around the world.

“ILA President Harold Daggett and the ILA negotiating team that includes Dennis Daggett, Steve Knott and Alan Robb should be congratulated for their strong stand protecting their membership while fighting the ravages of automation at our ports that will ultimately decimate our membership,” said Jordi Aragunde, General Coordinator of the world-wide International Dockers’ Council. “It is up to us in the other ports around the world to insist that our employers protect us and our jobs and livelihoods by applying the high standards established by Brother Harold Daggett and the ILA.”

“We were totally opposed to fully automated terminals and got the guarantees from our employers that they would not construct them during the life of our new package,” said President Daggett. “We are committed to give our employers far superior productivity and increase our hourly container moves, far better than any robot or automation could do.”

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