ILA Reveals USMX Members Recorded Billion Dollar Profits in Recent Years; Union Expects ILA Members to Benefit with Generous Master Contract Package

ILA Reveals USMX Member Companies Recorded Billion Dollar Profits In Recent Years; Union Expects ILA Members To Benefit With Generous Master Contract Package

NORTH BERGEN, NJ (June 12, 2024) – The ILA means business in 2024 as it seeks to negotiate a new agreement with USMX before the current Master Contract expires in less than four months, on September 30, 2024.

From its leader President Harold J. Daggett to the tens of thousands of ILA rank-and-file longshore member at ports from Maine to Texas, the union views this current Master Contract negotiations with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) as a pivotal moment for them, knowing that the member companies who employ ILA labor have made massive profits in recent years, while failing to reward the workforce responsible for these gains.

As tensions escalate between dockworkers on the East and Gulf Coasts and their employers, now fueled by accusations of corporate greed, and encroachments on the ILA’s historic work jurisdiction, the union is staunchly defending its traditional roles amid growing disputes in ports along the eastern seaboard

The union has obtained financial records of many of the companies who will be sitting across from the ILA at negotiations. USMX member-company’s profits are enormous, amounting to billions of dollars, and the ILA will demand wage increase commensurate with these revenues.

For example, A.P. Moller-Maersk revenue for the twelve-month period ending on September 30, 2022, was more than $82 Billion, more than a 50 percent increase from the previous year. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when the ILA kept ports open and commerce moving, A.P. Moller-Maersk earned nearly $62 Billion in 2021, a jump of almost 56 percent from the previous year.

In 2022, APM Terminals revenues grew by nine percent to $4.4 Billion. This is the same company that the ILA proved earlier this week was utilizing an Auto Gate system that autonomously processes trucks with ILA labor, leading to the cancelation a negotiating session scheduled for Tuesday, June 11th.

“Companies like Maersk are repeatedly trying to eliminate ILA jobs with the introduction of automation while realizing raking in billions of dollars,” said ILA President Harold J. Daggett. “They are in for a rude awakening. This is our time, and the ILA will demand our ILA longshore workers get big boosts in their wages.”

Other companies have also enjoyed record profits.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) reported revenues of $28.2 Billion for the twelve-month period ending on September 30, 2022. The ILA believes this figure is low because MSC, a privately-owned company, does not have to disclose profits like a publicly owned company. MSC, a family-owned business, has acquired 200 plus ships since the ILA was notified that the 2M alliance is breaking up.

A subsidiary of MSC, Terminal Investment Limited (TIL), has interests in more than 60 terminals, handles at least 60 million TEUs annually, and operates in 31 countries across five continents. TIL owns 50 percent of Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) and has recently invested in Trade Point Atlantic in Baltimore. TIL also has a significant presence in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Their estimated revenue for the year ending on September 30, 2022, is $1.3 billion, a figure the ILA believes is underestimated, considering TIL has recently partnered with BlackRock, a large private equity firm.

COSCO’s revenue for the past two years was $63.22 billion in 2022 and $51.67 billion in 2021. The owners of the closely held French shipping giant CMA CGM received $3 billion in dividends this year as profits spiked to unprecedented levels. The payout to shareholders, including France’s Rodolphe Saade and family, was disclosed in the company’s financial statement. CMA CGM, another privately-owned company, earned $20 billion in the second quarter alone in 2022. Hapag-Lloyd’s profit was $36.11 billion in 2022. Evergreen’s profit was $20.7 billion in 2022, more than triple what it was in 2020. The ILA also learned that Evergreen awarded bonuses equivalent to 50 months’ salary, or more than four years’ salary, on average, to their employees.

“We are not going to entertain any sob stories from employers during negotiations about a sluggish economy,” said President Daggett.

In negotiations, the ILA intends to expose how their direct employers and ocean carriers, part of USMX, are acting deceitfully. According to union leaders, USMX members are exploring various methods to sidestep the union’s traditional roles, thereby violating the current master contract set to expire on September 30th. Specifically, the union accuses USMX members of employing certain technologies to circumvent clerical tasks, hiding these changes under the guise of technological upgrades that effectively reduce or eliminate jobs traditionally held by ILA clerks.

An ILA spokesperson expressed deep concern over these practices, stating, “The carriers and terminal operators are constantly undermining our collective bargaining agreement, then hide behind people within their companies for not knowing the contract.” The maintenance craft, too, has felt the impact, with similar accusations levied against their counterparts. The root of the current friction traces back to 2009, when Ocean Carriers informed the union of their withdrawal from the chassis providing business. Since the advent of containerization in the late 1960s, the ILA has been responsible for the maintenance and repair of these chassis. This sudden shift has raised alarms within the union, which is now determined to preserve and protect its longstanding work jurisdiction.

ILA President Harold Daggett is now in his fourth term as International President. With a career that spans more than half century, ILA President Daggett was around at the beginning of the container revolution in the waterfront industry, and he saw the economic boom for companies and the devastation on ILA jobs. He has witnessed management companies pleading for tiered wages and other concessions from the ILA, and its workforce, throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, while their profits continually rose.

“While our ILA members are battling inflation, trying to pay their mortgages, and send their children to college, our employers and companies are enjoying record profits,” said Daggett.

“The ILA will not take one step back off our demands,” continued the ILA leader. “It’s our ILA members that work in one of the most dangerous environments, under all sorts of conditions, keeping America’s commerce moving through our nation’s ports, and helping the companies make those multi-billion-dollar profits we are exposing.”

The ILA has conducted extensive research, going as far back as the 1970s, to see how employers, including ocean carriers, have taken advantage of the union and consistently encroached upon, or circumvented their historic work jurisdiction. The ILA is also taking a strong stance on their current agreement, which grants the ILA the right to all jobs created through technology. Members are seeing more IT personnel on the terminals, and those are our jobs! Tension has arisen because management lied about the agreement stipulating that any new terminals must be manned by the ILA, or ocean carriers cannot call at that terminal. The ILA was successful last year at the US Supreme Court regarding jurisdiction at the Leatherman Terminal in Charleston, South Carolina.

The ILA believes that high inflation has eroded the raises negotiated in the current contract. Some in the media focus on the average salary a longshoreman receives, but never tell the real story: longshoremen must work tremendous hours to survive in today’s economy. The ILA leadership recognizes this and is taking a hardline approach to secure respectable hourly wages.

ILA President Daggett is fully committed to negotiate the best contract for his members and hopes USMX and the companies understand the union’s firm position.

“We hope our canceling negotiations is a wake-up call for USMX and its members. There’s no point trying to negotiate a new agreement with USMX when one of its major companies continues to violate our current agreement with the sole aim of eliminating ILA jobs through automation,” said International President Harold J. Daggett.

The ILA will not meet with USMX until the Auto Gate issue is resolved. When negotiations resume, the union expects to demand salaries and other benefits for ILA members that are as lucrative as the profits of USMX member companies.

“Our quest is relentless,” said the ILA. “We will hold our employers accountable and bring home a contract that secures our jobs for the future.”

As negotiations proceed, the stakes are high. The outcome will determine whether the ILA can successfully safeguard its historic roles against what it sees as an aggressive push by employers to reshape the industry to their advantage. For now, port tensions remain high, with dockworkers resolute in their fight to maintain their livelihoods and secure a just agreement.

“The threat of a coast wide strike on October 1, 2024, is becoming more likely as USMX and its member companies continue to drag their feet,” Daggett warned.