Hamburg Sud and Hapag-Lloyd merger talks halted
Press Release from Hamburg Sud
Suspension of project work relating to a merger of Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd
The shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd have jointly arrived at the conclusion to discontinue talks temporarily.
Süd does not wish to comment publicly on the subject matter of the
points under discussion. It does, however, expressly point out that the
owners of Hamburg Süd – unlike the impression conveyed in various press
articles – positively favour a flotation of the merged new company if
certain conditions are met.
The Advisory Board and Executive Board
of Hamburg Süd remain firmly of the view that the merger of Hapag-Lloyd
and Hamburg Süd would be of enormous benefit for both companies as well
as for Hamburg as a shipping location.
Hum. It would be interesting be to a "fly on the wall" during these discussions.
Labels: Hamburg Süd, Hapag-Lloyd
Will U.S. Dockworkers Strike?
What a shock. The ILWU (representing the U.S. West Coast) went on strike for 8 days in December.
They came to an agreement, but, low and behold., yesterday the members did not vote for the agreement.
No one knows. Will there be another strike in Los Angeles/Long Beach?
And then what about the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports? The union reached a "tentative agreement", but
the contract (to my knowledge) expired Feb. 6. So presumably they are working without a contract.
Today reports say they will continue negotiations and expect to conclude in March. ??
Perhaps the carriers don't get this, but it looks to me that the unions are in a very good spot
to really shut down the country. What would happen if the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf port went
out on strike, as well as the Long Beach/Los Angeles port?
better ask for a contract extension for the U.S. East/Gulf Port until the new contract
Labels: ILA, ilwu, port strike
ILA ReachesTentative Agreement
Looks as if there won't be a strike at the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Ports. The agreement is
not yet signed, but they are close.
Here's the press release
Friday, February 1, 2013 Contact: John Arnold
For Immediate Release Director of Public Affairs
Web site: www.fmcs.gov Phone: (202) 606-8100
Update on United States Maritime Alliance
And International Longshoremen’s Association
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H.
Cohen issued the following statement today on the labor negotiations between the United States
Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association:
“I am extremely pleased to announce that the parties have reached a tentative agreement for a
comprehensive successor Master Agreement. The tentative agreement is subject to the
ratification procedures of both parties and, as well, to agreements being achieved in a number of
local union negotiations. Those local negotiations are ongoing and will continue without
interruption to any port operation. Out of respect for the parties’ ratification processes, and
consistent with the Agency’s long-standing confidentiality policy, we will not disclose any
details concerning the substantive provisions that have been reached.”
“However, as the negotiations have been conducted under the auspices of the FMCS,
commencing last September and continuing to date, I can report that the tentative agreement
reflects the culmination of good faith negotiations in which the parties successfully
accommodated strongly held competing positions because of their commitment to problem
solving. Again, collective bargaining has proven its worth by avoiding a potential work stoppage
that would have had a severe negative impact on the nation’s economy.”
“On behalf of the FMCS, I want to especially convey my thanks to ILA President Harold
Daggett and USMX Chairman and CEO James Capo for their leadership, patience, and
persistence and to their respective hard-working negotiating committees. Finally, my colleagues
Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, Director of Mediation Services Jack Sweeney, and
Commissioner Pete Donatello provided valuable assistance both to me and the parties throughout
this lengthy process.”
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent U.S. government
agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation.
Labels: ILA, ILA strike
U.S. East/Gulf Port Strike Postponed for 30 days
It has been agreed to extend the current contract for 30 days, which will postpone the
strike until Jan. 29 (I guess).
I still think there will be a strike, so this will give a chance for everyone to increases their
inventories to get them through the strike.
Labels: ILA strike, port strike
Why the ILA will strike
As just posted, I think the ILA will go on strike Dec. 30. At the moment both sides
are meeting with a mediator, but in my opinion, the most that will happen is the contract
will be extended.
If they do this, it is only postponing the strike. I don't think the ILA will give in. They want
to continue some stupid payments that were put in place to appease the union when containerzation
came in to place so the union members loaded big containers (you all know what an ocean
container looks like), rather than bags and boxes.
This took place in the 1960's. That is more than 50 years ago!!
In my opinion, the ILA management is totally out of touch with reality. Within the last
few years it has been shown there is still mob control of the union, with "Christmas payments"
being made by the membership to the union bosses.
The union bosses need to be replaced. Only when this occurs will a reasonable contract
come in to place, and the ports and carriers can move forward with needed improvements.
Labels: ILA strike
Plan for strike Dec. 30 at U.S. East/Gulf ports.
I think the ILA will strike, and according to Bloomberg, the general belief is Obama will not
intervene (at least in the short term). The strike will begin Sunday, Dec. 30.
All of the carriers have filed a strike surcharge, so it is the importers and exporters who
will help foot the bill for the additional costs.
The winners will be the railroads, and truckers, who will be moving the cargo from the U.S. West Coast
or Canada to the final destination.
From Bloomberg (click here
President Barack Obama is facing
pressure to block a strike that would gridlock eastern U.S.
ports and risk damaging industries from retail to manufacturing.
Federal mediators have been pushing for a deal between
dockworkers and their employers before a Dec. 29 deadline. Talks
between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the
U.S. Maritime Alliance broke down last week amid a dispute over
container royalty fees, levies that supplement wages.
A walkout would be the first at East Coast and Gulf Coast
ports since 1977, and would halt shipments of containerized
cargo, including clothing, frozen foods and car parts. Obama
would be left to choose between forsaking a pro-labor stance by
invoking the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act and allowing a union action
that could compound the effects of the fiscal cliff.
“To throw that kind of a strike on top of the economy
right away in January, I’m sure is something the administration
would rather not see,” Mike Asensio, a labor lawyer at Baker
Hostetler LLP in Columbus, Ohio, said in a telephone interview.
“Would it create that much of a nightmare for him that they
would be willing to do something that would anger part of their
constituency in organized labor? That’s the $64,000 question.”
Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, declined to comment
beyond a statement last week that the administration was
monitoring the situation and urging the parties “to continue
their work at the negotiating table to get a deal done as
quickly as possible.”
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which has
guided talks since September, organized a meeting between the
two sides this week in an 11th-hour effort to salvage
negotiations. All three parties declined to provide further
details on the new talks.
“I believe in my president, and I will follow him down
whatever road he leads us,” Carl Chiofolo Jr., a union member
and clerical worker at New Jersey’s Port Elizabeth, said in a
phone interview. “Solidarity is the No. 1 thing here. We have
to keep together on this. It literally is a fight for our
If federal mediation fails, the only remaining tool in the
government’s arsenal is Taft-Hartley, which empowers the
president to intervene in strikes that are deemed national
emergencies, said Phillip Wilson, president and general counsel
at the Labor Relations Institute in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
The act was last invoked by President George W. Bush in
2002 after a lockout closed West Coast ports for 10 days. The
most recent successful use prior to that was in 1971 under
President Richard Nixon.
The National Retail Federation and Florida Governor Rick Scott have urged Obama to use the law to avoid an eastern port
shutdown that they say would cripple an already weak economy.
“The threat to national health and safety that would
result from mass closure of the ports cannot be overstated,”
Scott, a Republican, wrote in a Dec. 20 letter to Obama. “The
Taft-HartAct provides your administration with tools that
can help avoid this threat.”
On a conference call with port directors today, Scott said
he hasn’t yet received a response from Obama and reiterated his
call for an intervention. About 550,000 people depend on Florida
ports directly and indirectly for their jobs, he said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said a strike
would cost the region an estimated $136 million a week in
personal income and $110 million in economic output.
“Any disruption to port activity will negatively affect
tens of thousands of local jobs as well as both the regional and
the national economies,” Steve Coleman, an authority spokesman,
wrote in an e-mail. “We urge the parties to resolve their
differences as soon as possible.”
Even as pressure for action mounts, Obama may hesitate to
undermine the union’s bargaining power, Bradford Livingston, a
partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, said in an interview from Ch
Labor unions “continue to be one of the bigger donors of
the Democratic Party,” Livingston said in a phone interview.
“As the top Democrat, even though he may not be re-elected,
he’s going to want to be a friend to organized labor for the
next four years.”
The Longshoremen’s political action committee gave 96
percent of its $549,050 in 2012 election donations to Democratic
candidates and committees, according to the Washington-based
Center for Responsive Politics. Obama didn’t accept PAC
contributions for his re-election campaign.
Calls from the Retail Federation for presidential
intervention during an eight-day strike last month at the Port
of Los Angeles and adjacent Port of Long Beach went unheeded. A
strike at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports would need to last at
least as long or longer before Obama steps in, according to the
Labor Relations Institute’s Wilson.
“The president intervening is a big deal,” he said in a
phone interview. “At the end of the day, the way these
situations are supposed to work out is the parties inflict
whatever pain they can on each other and then they reach a
Still, with the fiscal cliff of more than $600 billion in
spending cuts and tax increases looming at the end of the year,
the president won’t be able to linger on the sidelines, said
Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser at Los Angeles-based
consultant Beacon Economics LLC.
“There’s always the possibility that the mediators will
lead the respective parties to come to a solution before the
strike,” O’Connell said in a phone interview. “After that,
then the clock starts ticking. The precedent in this case is
about a 10-day clock before pressure on the White House to
invoke Taft-Hartley starts becoming irresistible.”
Labels: ILA strike
ILA issues...are they out of their #%@? minds?
THE ISSUE: CONTAINER ROYALTY
From the ILA web-site...
click here for link
International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO Contract Issues with United States Maritime Alliance
International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO wants to maintain
Container Royalty Fund as it is in current contract. USMX, the
employer group representing ILA employers, wants to put a cash ceiling
or CAP on how much money is put into the Container Royalty Fund for
current longshore workers and ultimately, eliminate the Container
The first container royalties were established in the 1960s as a
way to protect members of the International Longshoremen's Association,
AFL-CIO (ILA) in New York from job losses created by containerization
and its introduction of automated cargo.
Container Royalty came about from negotiations and sacrifices made
by ILA members since the late 1960s. Container Royalty supplements the
members' income and keeps his benefits package financially strong.
Container Royalty eligibility must be earned by an ILA member reaching a
certain amount of hours worked each year. ILA work isn't like other
professions: no ships mean no work, but employers depend on a strong
and skilled workforce when ships need to be worked. Container Royalty
helps keep an ILA workforce available.
When containerization started the ILA was faced with a huge
displacement of worker whose jobs were eliminated by the ominous steel
boxes. The ILA was at a crossroad - allow containerization to be
implemented or refuse. The ILA agreed to allow containerization to
flourish but negotiated a fee based on the weight of each loaded
container to be used for annual payments to the longshore workers whose
job opportunities had been compromised due to containerization. As the
number of containers being handled increased, the negotiated payment for
each worker increased. Rather than being an annual bonus for each
worker, as USMX suggests, this payment is compensation for the job
opportunities lost by permitting containerization.
United States Maritime Alliance now wants to limit the amount of
money that is paid ILA members and goes into various Container Royalty
Funds by placing a CAP on the money collected in any given contract
year. Container Royalty is collected by the amount of tons of
containerized cargo ILA members handle. A total of $4.85 is collected
on each ton of containerized cargo handled and is distributed to ILA
workers as part of a Wage supplement and to the ILA members' health care
fund, called MILA.
USMX ultimate goal is to eliminate Container Royalty, based on their last proposal to end it in 25 years.
ILA has suggested a way for Container Royalty to end now. If the
Carriers don't want to pay Container Royalty, then bring back all the
warehouses, and start stuffing and stripping again. A Carrier does not
have to pay Container Royalty on a Container that has been stuffed and
stripped by the ILA.
Automation continues to reduce the number of hours for hard working
ILA members. Container Royalty wage supplements are more important
today for ILA members than its ever been to keep America's commerce
moving with skilled, trained longshore workers.
ILA and USMX have exchanged proposals and demands regarding on
Wages based on a tentative six-year contract. The ILA has put in its
demands wage increases that are reasonable and would enable our
employers to remain competitive.
In its contract proposals to the ILA, USMX continues to treat ILA
workers like second-class citizens. In all its public pronouncements on
wages, USMX fails to note that longshore labor cost amounts to between
3% and 4% of the shipper's total cost. Unlike other hourly workers who
work a 40-hour workweek, most longshore workers make themselves
available for work on a daily basis. Early on, the ILA negotiated a
guarantee of a day's pay. Otherwise, the employer had no obligation to
pay if a vessel did not arrive on schedule. To the employer's benefit,
Guarantee Annual Income no longer exists.
Also very important to note: For over 20 years, our employers
enjoyed paying tiered wages where newer longshore workers were paid much
less than their senior counterparts. The system was unfair and there
was never light at the end of the tunnel. History shows that management
enjoyed huge savings while ILA members, their locals, the Districts and
the International all suffered with reduced revenues.
ILA HEALTH CARE FOR WORKERS:
The ILA's National Health care program is called "MILA"
Part of MILA is funded through Container Royalty money mentioned earlier.
USMX current proposal is that our MILA fund is so solvent that they'd like to defer payment of CR 4 for two years.
USMX views this as a loan, promising to pay it back within third
year of agreement. Their math is fuzzy. They claim CR 4 contributions
down the road will be greater than the current $1.15. We think their
contributions would end up being less with even a 5% bump in container
USMX pledged early in negotiations that no matter what we agreed to
with MILA, our fund would be sound and secure because they'd
automatically pump money into the fund if the current $800 million
reserve were to fall below $600 million. They called it a trigger and
that it would kick in when the fund went below $600 million. CR-4 would
Somehow, talk of a "trigger" has stopped. Their new formula? They
only want a 6-month reserve with no trigger. That formula would take
our current $800 million reserve down to the $200 million mark.
They will "Guarantee" the current benefit for the life of the
contract if we agree to that two-year deferred payment to CR-4. The ILA
asks "What reserve will we have at the end of a contract with this
formula?" We are unsure about the impact from OBAMACARE.
ILA refuses to jeopardize the future of our MILA program by
shortsighted decisions. Healthcare is extremely important to our
members and their families and we want it financially secure.
ILA and USMX did reach tentative agreements on automation and container chassis work and on some jurisdiction language.
All local issues and negotiated in the local port area. All ILA
ports from Maine to Texas still need to resolve local agreements.
Labels: ILA negotiations