ILA President Harold Daggett Calls on Sen. Amy Klobucher To Withdraw Damaging “Ocean Shipping Competition Reform Act of 2022”
NORTH BERGEN, NJ. (March 10, 2022) – The International Longshoremen’s Association has called on Senator Amy Klobucher to withdraw legislation that could adversely impact the terms and conditions of the ILA Master Contract.
On March 7, 2022, in response to the introduction of legislation that could fundamentally alter the collective bargaining process and terms and conditions of employment for members of the ILA, ILA President Harold J. Daggett petitioned bill sponsor Senator Amy Klobucher (D-MN) to withdraw this detrimental legislation. President Daggett also called on President Biden to veto the bill should it pass through Congress.
- 3586, referred to as the Ocean Shipping Competition Reform Act of 2022, eliminates the limited antitrust immunity that ocean carriers and marine terminal operators have functioned under since the original Shipping Act of 1916 – more than a century ago. Liner shipping is, in fact, a highly-competitive industry, and ocean transportation pricing is very sensitive to changes in supply and demand. While the media has mischaracterized global supply chain issues and used members of the shipping industry – including members of the ILA and its West Coast brothers and sisters at the ILWU – as scapegoats, the fact is that shipping prices have increased as a result of unprecedented consumer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notwithstanding its sponsors touting S. 3586 as a silver bullet that would somehow alleviate port congestion and shipping costs, the reality is that eliminating the limited antitrust immunity would likely result in a higher concentration of services at large ports, which are already receiving record volumes of cargo, due to ocean carriers’ potential inability to form vessel sharing agreements with one another. Vessel sharing agreements are an essential vehicle of the industry’s limited antitrust immunity because they allow carriers to provide customers with more frequent service at a lower cost by sharing vessel space. Furthermore, without vessel sharing, there would likely be less service at smaller and medium-size ports.
Should ocean carriers and marine terminal operators be stripped of their limited antitrust immunity, their business model will be altered which may, in turn, adversely impact the terms and conditions of employment for ILA members upon the expiration of the current CBA.
The ILA vehemently opposes S. 3586 and urges all members of the shipping and longshore industry, especially U.S. maritime unions, to stand together in opposition of S. 3586 and the upheaval that it would create in the industry as well as in the global marketplace.
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