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Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Thanks to Obamacare, ILWU Contract Maybe Short-Lived
By Selected News Articles @ 10:16 PM :: 3896 Views :: Health Care, Labor

ILWU, PMA reach tentative agreement on chassis maintenance and repair

by Bill Mongelluzzo, Journal of Commerce, January 26, 2015 (excerpt)

...industry sources said the ILWU and PMA are now negotiating with an intensity not yet seen since the talks began on May 12, 2014, and both parties appear to want this saga of mutual recrimination and horrendous delays to end as soon as possible.

The three major remaining issues in the negotiations appear to be wages, pensions and the length of the new contract. In past contract negotiations, wages and pensions were held to the end of the talks and were normally resolved quickly. However, if the new contract extends longer than three years, that will be a surprise to many.

When the talks began last spring, the most important issue mentioned publicly was the Cadillac tax in the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The provision will levy a tax on high-end medical plans, with the revenue to be used to subsidize workers who do not have access to affordable health-care plans. Under the ILWU plan, employers pay 100 percent of the premiums, and longshoremen pay $1 co-pay for medicine, qualifying it as a Cadillac plan.

The PMA and ILWU in late August announced that negotiators had reached a tentative agreement on health care, leading most observers to conclude the new contract would run for three years, from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2017, and the Cadillac tax issue would therefore be left for future negotiations.

However, employers are known to want as long a period of certainty on the waterfront as possible, and the last two contracts have run for six years, a practice begun after the 10-day employer lockout in 2002. Therefore, if the term of the contract must still be negotiated, it is possible that some type of financial agreement on the cost of medical care has been reached. PMA President Jim McKenna said last March at the TPM Conference in Long Beach that the Cadillac tax is estimated to add $150 million a year to the cost of medical insurance for longshoremen....

read ... ILWU PMA Tentative Agreement



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