“If that means we have to keep talking two, three times a week, two, three hours per session, then that's what we're going to do,” he said. He also said ILA President Harold Daggett may come to Baltimore to participate.
Jim McNamara, an ILA spokesman, said he wasn’t aware of any direct involvement by Daggett or other national ILA officials in the negotiation process, though they are “watching it closely and keeping up to date.”
Angelos said the revised contract offered Wednesday, which he described as an “enhanced best and final offer” from employers, grants two additional concessions requested by the longshoremen.
One covers how employers can replace workers if they leave a job uncompleted, while the other changes a wage scale and how it relates to employees’ tenure.
Angelos said the association asked that the new proposal be taken immediately to a full membership vote. There “is nothing left to negotiate,” he said.
While he said the STA will not agree to another extension, which he said “would not comfort our shippers, customers and steamship lines who are currently diverting cargo,” he added it would not lock out the dockworkers without an agreement.
“We do not intend to lock out anyone, and we will continue to work all cargo while the union has time to consider this final proposal,” he said in an email. “We believe the union intends to work all cargo and there will be no job action while a vote is taken on our final and best offer.”
The proposal provides for wage increases for longshoremen working automobiles, forest products and cruise lines. Angelos has called the increases “unprecedented.”
For example, a rookie longshoremen working automobiles under the proposed contract would see his pay double, from $16 an hour to $32 an hour. Longshoremen working automobiles in Philadelphia make $24 an hour, while those in Norfolk make $17, Angelos said.
“We want our customers to know that we have submitted a proposed agreement that we anticipate will [be] finalized without the need for another extension,” Angelos said in an email Thursday. “We believe this offer will be favorably received by Local 333.”
McKenzie has repeatedly declined to comment on specifics of the proposed contract, saying his goal is to secure a “fair and equitable” contract for Local 333 members.
Many officials in Maryland are eager to see the dispute resolved.
Port-related businesses directly employ 15,000 people and support tens of thousands of more jobs in the region, according to the Maryland Port Administration. The port is responsible for $3 billion a year in personal wages and salaries and more than $300 million a year in state and local taxes.
When Local 333 went on strike in October, members voted 517 to 25 against the proposed local contract, union leaders said, and stopped working cargo covered under both the local and master contracts.
The port’s three other ILA unions had already signed local contracts at the time, but honored Local 333’s picket lines.
The stoppage reverberated out from the port’s public terminals, where work ceased, to businesses across the region, leaving cargo processors, truckers and steamship crews without work for days. At least one ship diverted to another port.
The strike ended when a federal arbitrator ruled Local 333 had violated a no-strike clause in the master contract, and instituted the cooling-off period.
“The violations described have caused and are causing substantial and potentially irreparable harm and injury to the STA members and customers,” wrote arbitrator M. David Vaughn at the time, “and are causing losses of revenues and customer goodwill and have jeopardized future business at the port.”