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Longshoremen vote to ratify local contracts at port of Baltimore

The 2,000 unionized dockworkers at the port have ratified new, six-year local contracts with the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore, according to the president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, the largest of the three locals.

The vote on local contracts Thursday followed last month’s ratification of a six-year master contract covering the handling of shipping containers at ports from Maine to the Gulf Coast. The local contracts address other commodities, such as autos, forest products and sugar, with the association that employs the longshoremen.

The Local 333 longshoremen, the Local 953 checkers and clerks and the Local 1429 maintenance workers overwhelmingly approved their respective contracts, which added jobs and raises for workers beyond those guaranteed in the master contract, said Scott Cowan, president of ILA Local 333.

“All three locals passed by the largest margins ever,” Cowan said. “It’s fantastic. It shows labor at the port’s stable.”

The Steamship Trade Association did not respond to a request for comment.

The new contracts come amid booming growth at the port and five years after acrimonious contract negotiations resulted in a three-day strike.

“We’ve had problems in the past, but it seems like that stuff’s behind us,” Cowan said.

The local contracts are expected to add jobs and raises for the longshoremen of two of the locals, officials said.

Cowan declined to discuss specifics of the Local 333 contract, but said that the local will add an unspecified number of jobs and that members stand to gain raises for high-skill jobs.

“They’re significant,” he said. “This is big for us. It’s big for the port of Baltimore.”

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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