Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How the ILA gets paid

Contract negotiations between the ILA (union for the longshoremen...and they are mostly men),
and the representatives for the ocean carriers resume next week, thought it would be
interesting to look into their current contract.

The ILA load and discharge vessels, and move the containers around the terminals, at U.S. East and
Gulf Coast ports.

I don't know if there are any ships worked by the ILA which are not containerized, or ro/ro
(roll on-roll off cargo).  I doubt it.
But yet, the union has not conceded to change their pricing based on containerization.  They
still use an outdated method of charging some of their charges based on weight....and not just
weight, but the commodity.  This is used to fund what is called the "Container Royalty Fund".
I don't know the entire history of this fund, but most likely it came into being when
ships went from bulk to containers.

The calculation using weight and commodity  is a throw back to the truck tariffs, which
disappeared around 1980 as trucking was deregulated.  In fact, when the ILA comes to
your office to audit this report, they drag in an old trucking classification book.

If you want to know more about this, I found a bit of the history at ftc/gov.  Click here for the link.

The basis for the calculations is so convoluted and complicated that many carriers hire outside
companies (I think they are old retired ILA guys...but don't quote me on that), to file their reports.
It's something which is very difficult to capture from the computer system.
 Here's what is says in the master contract regarding Container Royalty Payments

The two Container Royalty payments, effective in 1960 and 1977
respectively, shall be continued and shall be used exclusively for
supplemental cash payments to employees covered by the
Management agreements, and for no other purpose. The remaining
royalty payment effective in 1971, also shall be continued and shall
be used for fringe benefit purposes only, other than supplemental
cash benefits, which purposes are to be determined locally on a portby-
port basis. The Container Royalty payments shall be payable only
once in the continental United States. They shall be paid in that ILA
port where the container is first handled by ILA longshore labor, at
longshore rates. Containers originating at a foreign port which are
transshipped at a United States port for ultimate destination to another
foreign port (“foreign-sea-to-foreign-sea containers”) are exempt
from the payment of container royalties. Container Royalty payments
shall be asserted against all containers moving across the continental
United States by rail or truck in the foreign-to-foreign
“LANDBRIDGE” system.
This is in addition to the hourly wage paid to the employees, which ain't small

Here is the link to the Master Contract of the ILA which was signed in 2009.   Click here.

I'll be posting about it and other things about the ILA over the coming days.

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