ILA Workforce Continued To Shine As America’s Frontline Heroes Throughout 2021; President Harold Daggett Says ILA Continues To Meet Challenges and Looks To A Bright Future
NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (December 29, 2021) As 2021 heads toward history, the ILA can look back on a year when it continued to meet the challenges of a world-wide pandemic; welcomed the inauguration of a new U.S. President who appointed a strong pro-labor Secretary of Labor in Marty Walsh; protected its membership and their benefits; and look ahead to the future with optimism and hope.
“On behalf of my fellow Executive Officers of the International Longshoremen’s Association, I wish all our ILA members and their families best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,” said International President Harold J. Daggett. “Our ILA members continue to shine as America’s Frontline heroes keeping our ports open and commerce moving throughout this COVID pandemic which has lingered far too long.”
ILA President Daggett marked his 10th Anniversary as International President in 2021, a decade of strong advancement by the union and great success for its membership. As Chief Negotiator, President Daggett successfully bargained two six-year Master Contracts with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) that saw powerful protection for ILA members against automation; increases in wages and strengthening protections of ILA jurisdiction of jobs at all ports from Maine to Texas; Great Lakes region, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
President Joe Biden nominated Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor early in his Administration. The ILA applauded that selection because Mayor Walsh, a member of the Laborers International Union of North American (LIUNA), has close association with our ILA leadership in the Port of Boston. The newly nominated Labor Secretary called ILA President Harold Daggett and promised to help the union in any way he could. Secretary Walsh fulfilled that pledge in November when he joined President Harold Daggett at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina in November 2021 to meet with ILA members there and show support for their fight to protect their jurisdiction at a new terminal there.
Countless times throughout the year, the Biden Administration demonstrated its commitment to ILA members. President Biden visited the Port of Baltimore in November to thank ILA members for keeping commerce moving throughout the COVID pandemic.
The ILA took some bold stances in 2021 relating to COVID. In August 2021, ILA President Daggett blasted government agencies that were mandating vaccines. Saying government was overreaching in their mandates, President Daggett called their actions a “threat to American citizen’s freedom to choose.” Earlier in the year, President Daggett worked tirelessly with State Governments to expedite the availability of vaccines for ILA port workers, but always maintained that the decision to vaccinate should be left to each individual member.
In September 2021, the ILA President again to a strong position against fully automated ships, announcing that the ILA would refuse to work any container or cargo ships that did not have human crews.
The ILA was in full support of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, but only after ILA Executive Vice President Dennis A. Daggett received assurances at a White House meeting that none of the $17 Billion earmarked for port improvements would help fund development of port automated equipment or port automation.
At the annual ILA Civil Rights Dinner held in November 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, where USMX CEO Dave Adam was honored along with ILA officials Jim Paylor, Alan Robb and William Bernard Dudley (posthumously) as well as Clayola Brown, President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, ILA President Harold Daggett and Dave Adam did announce that they were optimistic about future ILA-USMX negotiations, and that the two sides were always engaging in exploratory talks.