• TPM25
  • March 2-5, 2025 | Long Beach Convention Center

Session Details

What Should BCOs Do If East Coast Labor Peace Is No Longer Guaranteed?

Monday, 4 March

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm (PST) / 04/mar/2024 10:00 pm - 04/mar/2024 10:45 pm
Is labor peace on the East Coast a sure thing? Aside from a few minor and short-lived incidents, labor peace has reigned over the US East Coast since the late 1970s. The sharp contrast to the West Coast, which has experienced disruption, occasionally severe, during every contract negotiation going back to the 1990s, has given BCOs a high degree of confidence when considering alternative routings into the US market. In addition to demographic shifts, labor stability has contributed to the long-term shift in Asia import market share from the West to the East and Gulf coasts. But a long-simmering dispute has given shippers pause. Under longstanding practice going back to early days of containerization, the International Longshoremen’s Association does not represent the operators of cranes and yard equipment at three state-operated ports in the Southeast: Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington, North Carolina. It wants to change that. Its opening was a clause in its contract negotiated years ago giving it jurisdiction over those jobs at any newly opened terminal. Disagreement over what that means in practice has kept Phase 1 of the Hugh Leatherman Terminal at Charleston largely empty since it opened in early 2021. Litigation has only further emboldened the union to seek changes, not just at Charleston but at the other ports as well. This session will update where this stands as the ILA and US Maritime Association prepare to begin negotiations on a new contract to replace the six-year pact that expires on September 30.

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