The International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) and Evergreen America Corporation
(EGA) ended a month long dispute with a memorandum of agreement signed this morning. The agreement contains essential terms demanded by the union on behalf of the Port Captains and Engineer whom it represents, pursuant to an NLRB certification.
The striking Port Captains will promptly be returned to their jobs and to the work that they regularly performed will not be reduced, a charge that the ILA alleges had occurred.
As a result of entering into this Memorandum of Agreement, the International is discontinuing its picketing of the employer's operation.
The Agreement includes among other terms: provisions intended to assure the integrity and stability of the current work unit, the preservation of the unit work and jurisdiction, the company's cooperation in retaining its foreign employees who are working in the U.S., and their right to grieve and arbitrate their complaints. An important provision of the memorandum of agreement also prevents Evergreen from relocating the Port Captains beyond
a 25 miles radius of the current Morristown, New Jersey office where they are housed. They will be entitled to seniority and to improvements in their wages and other terms and conditions of work which the parties intend to include in a three-year or longer agreement to be negotiated over the course of the next fourteen working days. It was agreed that issues outstanding between the parties after the fourteen days will be submitted to binding arbitration for early resolution.
For the first time, the unionized employees will have input into the employer's hiring process. Until now, Evergreen was entirely at liberty in selecting, transferring and otherwise dealing with the terms and conditions of its employees. This was a key provision that the ILA won and was at the heart of the agreement.
The contract will include language to assure the ILA that Evergreen will not engage in tactics designed to divert unit work to other vessels it owns or controls.
The Memorandum of Agreement stipulates that Evergreen and its affiliates will immediately withdraw all pending unfair labor practice charges before the NLRB as well as pending court actions seeking damages or other relief related to the underlying dispute. Evergreen's Appeal of the Board's determination that the Port Captains and Engineer are employees entitled to representation rather than exempt managers remains in place.
Evergreen was prompted to go to the bargaining table as directed by the Board in April when it faced the prospect of having its unfair labor practice charges against the ILA and its locals at East Coast ports be dismissed if not withdrawn. The NLRB's General Counsel evidently concluded yesterday that the International's job action was properly conducted in accordance with current Board law.