ILA To Boycott ITF Congress In Singapore After It Learns World-Wide Labor Organization Agrees To Enter Pact That Endorses Port Automation

The International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO is boycotting the 44th Congress of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which is scheduled to begin this Sunday, October 14, 2018 in Singapore. Harold J. Daggett, International ILA President said his union will not send delegates to the ITF Congress to condemn the ITF for its plans to sign an agreement with Ong Teng Cheong Labor Leadership Institute of the Singapore National Trades Union Congress that the ILA believes signals the ITF’s endorsement and acceptance of fully automated terminals.

With President Daggett as its Chief Negotiator, the ILA was successful obtaining a landmark six-year Master Contract Agreement with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that prohibits fully automated terminals, fully automated equipment and semi-automated terminals from being implemented at any ILA port on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.

“We just learned through an ITF press release sent out with great fanfare that the they were agreeing to a so-called study by the Singapore Leadership Institute to examine how best transport workers, including Dockers, quote ‘be ready for the huge changes that are coming in their sector, and this means their unions must be prepared to shape that change’,” said ILA President Daggett. “This is a disgrace that a labor organization like the ITF, that represents 670 affiliate trade unions in 140 countries, representing 19.7 million workers would surrender so easily.”

The ILA leader expressed his outrage to Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary.

“If Brother Cotton and the ITF agree to a study, they are basically saying that we cannot stop fully automated terminals,” said President Daggett. “Well the ILA proved you can stop it and protect members’ jobs which is what the ITF should be doing and has failed at doing by agreeing to this study.

“I’m calling on all U.S. Maritime Unions and all world-wide Dockers’ unions affiliated with the International Dockers’ Council (IDC) to condemn and reject the ITF for taking this defeatist position that will spell the end of longshore jobs within 10 years,” President Daggett added.

The ILA knows that some unions believe you cannot stop automation. ILA President Daggett said: “That’s bullshit!”
“In our negotiations with USMX, we convinced our employers that human labor can out-perform automated equipment,” President Daggett said. “We fought long and hard in negotiations to win this important issue. You’re taking about members’ lives here and their families. I am furious at the ITF leadership for not making the same effort.”

The time for studies is over – the time for action is now.

Portuguese Dockers are striking over automation and we are behind them 100 percent. In the past decade, conservative Australian governments led to the destruction of the dockworkers’ unions there. For example, a the automated Patrick Stevedoring Terminals in both Brisbane and Sydney, the gang size is four because of automation. In Melbourne at the more fully automated ICTSI terminal in Melbourne, cranes are driven remotely the gang size is down to three.

Fully automated terminals can be found in Southern California and Mexico, further eroding jobs and jeopardizing the future of unions there.

In countries where the government has interfered with collective bargaining agreements, memberships have been destroyed. Through oppressive regimes and yellow unions, workers’ rights have been stripped. It is no coincidence that automation has flourished in areas where members’ rights are crushed.

The ILA remains concerned that some unions in Singapore were puppets of a restrictive government undermining democracy and freedom to organize.

The ILA added that Singapore port operator PSA Singapore earlier this year showcased an exhibit touting its “advanced port technologies,” including data analytics, robotics, amphibious drones, automated quay cranes, exoskeletons for port staff and robotic arms for related container activities.

“This is the environment in Singapore – eliminate the worker with more automation – and here you have our world-wide labor organization, the ITF, coming here and signing agreements that mean the destruction of decent paying jobs,” said President Daggett.
All transportation unions affiliated with the ITF are facing grave threats due to automation. Driverless trucks could destroy the Teamsters. A major American cable news network reported recently about a self-driving truck hauling 51,744 cans of Budweiser across the state of Colorado. Companies are making huge profits and union members are losing jobs.

Members of our own International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots and all Seafarer Unions may see their entire membership wiped out because of automation – ships with no captains, seaman and deckhands. It will become commonplace for a tugboat to move a crewless container or break-bulk ship out to sea a few miles with a lone person sitting at a desk somewhere in the world then navigating the ship across an ocean.

Railroad unions are waging a vigorous campaign fighting automation.

And many unions are fighting a double-edged sword: the threats from automation and unions fighting each other over jurisdiction.
The ILA calls on all unions around the world to boycott the 44th ITF Congress in Singapore.

“The ILA has had a long and beneficial partnership with the ITF going back decades,” said ILA President Daggett. “Our former ILA Presidents Teddy Gleason and John Bowers chaired the worldwide Dockers Section of the ITF. No one takes solidarity more seriously than the ILA but we cannot support nor accept this action by the ITF. A study on automation today becomes a policy on automation tomorrow and an out-of-work union member after that.

“Instead of signing agreements for Automation studies, we should start an organization and campaign around the world involving all unions to fight for our rights and the future to all unions to protect our jobs and come together as a brotherhood,” the ILA leader charged. “If you’re in negotiations, take a strong stand against automation. Do not give in.”
“Automation will spell the death of unions everywhere,” President Daggett concluded. “It’s time for workers everywhere to declare war on automation.”

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ILA-USMX Contract Signing 2018

Harold Daggett, President, International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO; David F. Adam, Chairman/CEO, United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd.; and John Nardi officially sign new Six-Year Master Contract and ILA-NYSA Local Agreements at ceremonies held at ILA headquarters in North Bergen, New Jersey.

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ILA, AFL-CIO endorses re-election of Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman

jack issuesclyde alan

Yesterday evening (October 3, 2018), Commissioner Morman met with members from Houston Locals 24, 28, 1351 and 1438 at ILA Local 28 where he was given an endorsement from the ILA.

Commissioner Morman started off by saying, “The port is the economic engine not of only our entire region, but our state and indeed our country and it is so because of you guys, because of labor and in particular the ILA and y’alls relationship with the port.” Commissioner Morman has been a reliable and important friend to the ILA and all labor organizations on the Harris County Commissioners Court. Commissioner Morman advocates the continued success of the Port as Precinct 2 includes a large portion of the Houston Ship Channel.  His support for the working families in the precinct has earned our respect and support. He finished by saying that “Labor will always have an open door with me at my office, and I will do everything I can to make sure that the port and in turn labor and the ILA is as successful as they absolutely can be.”

Clyde Fitzgerald, ILA – South Atlantic & Gulf Coast District President Emeritus and Houston Port Commissioner, encouraged everyone to get out and vote in this critical election year.  Fitzgerald stated “whenever we find a political person who cares about our port like Jack Morman, we’re going to get behind them and work for them and pay them back for what they do for us.”  He also encouraged voting for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Justin Nelson, candidate for Texas Attorney General and the son of Eric Nelson – General Counsel to the ILA. Alan Robb, President of the ILA – South Atlantic & Gulf Coast District, also echoed the importance of exercising the right to vote and asked members to volunteer their time to Morman’s campaign.

Early voting for the November 6th election begins on October 22nd and runs through November 2nd.  To learn more about Commissioner Jack Morman, visit his website and Facebook  page.

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ILA and USMX Officially Sign Six-Year Contract Agreement that Brings Labor Peace to Industry Until September 30, 2024

42603608_10156262645859331_8667230358216900608_oNORTH BERGEN, NJ – (September 26, 2018)  The two leaders of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO and United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd., officially signed the six-year ILA-USMX Master Contract extension, with ILA President Harold J. Daggett calling the agreement the “greatest contract in the history of the ILA.”

Surrounded by ILA officers and USMX board and bargaining committee members at ILA headquarters in North Bergen, New Jersey on Tuesday, September 25th, ILA President Daggett and David F. Adam, USMX Chairman and CEO affixed their signatures to the agreement that features landmark protections for ILA members against automation job losses, maintaining a premier National Health Care Plan (MILA) and generous salary increases throughout the life of the contract.  Employers said the contract was fair and equitable and beneficial to both sides to allow companies to expand, grow and flourish.

“I have been a part of this industry for more than 50 years and I have never seen a better agreement for ILA members than this six-year contract,” said ILA President Daggett.  “It was an honor for me to serve as chief negotiator for the ILA and I applaud the members of the contract committee and full ILA wage scale delegation for helping me deliver this landmark agreement.”

“This was a long, arduous process to bring home this six-year agreement but both the ILA and USMX recognized and respected what each side needed to be successful and I believe we were tremendously successful with this six-year contract,” said USMX’s Dave Adam.

This new agreement now brings labor peace to Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports until September 30, 2024.  ILA members overwhelmingly ratified this agreement on September 6th and USMX did the same later on September 11.

Also at yesterday’s signing ceremony, ILA President Harold Daggett and New York Shipping Association President John Nardi officially signed the ILA-NYSA local agreement and echoed the sentiments of the national agreement by terming it “the best ever.”

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ILA Statement from International President Harold J. Daggett Expressing Full Solidarity with Striking Portuguese Dockworkers


To Our Sister and Brother Portuguese Dockworkers:

The International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO stands with our Sister and Brother Portuguese Dockworkers and in full solidarity with them as they stage a 24-hour strike today, September 20, 2018, and throughout this month at ports including Leixoes and Lisbon.

The tens of thousands of ILA members at United States ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes region, Eastern Canada and Puerto Rico will use all our means to defend the Portuguese stevedoring unions’ rights to freely choose union representation and fair wages and respect from employers and the government.

As proud affiliates of the International Dockers’ Council, we join Dockers from around the world with a single message to our Portuguese Sister and Brothers Dockers: You are not alone. Solidarity with Dockers unions around the world is stronger today than it has ever been. We will not tolerate the growing proliferation of anti-union practices.

Respect Dockworkers in Portugal!


Harold J. Daggett
International President

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