Contract talks broke down yesterday between representatives for the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX). As they met during scheduled talks on Tuesday, container royalty fees remained the most contentious issue between labor and management. Although both sides were willing to discuss the possibility of an additional contract extension, negotiations abruptly broke off when management rejected labor’s ultimatum to leave container royalty payouts unchanged.
Unfortunately, this only increases the likelihood of a labor strike at every port along the East and Gulf Coasts. With the holidays next week, there are even fewer chances for further meetings before midnight on December 29, when the current contract expires.