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For weeks, International Longshoremen's Association officials had predicted that a new six-year master contract would win easy rank-and-file ratification. They were partly right. The contract passed, but the margin was closer than they expected.
Results from last Tuesday's referendum showed 5,084 votes for ratification and 3,920 against, the ILA said. Because the announced 56.5 percent "yes" vote exceeded the coastwide majority required for ratification, the outcome will allow the master contract to take effect in Atlantic and Gulf ports on Oct. 1, after the current agreement expires.
ILA local unions in several ports rejected the master contract, along with supplementary local agreements, after a vigorous "vote no" campaign by dissidents opposed to the contract's perpetuation of a lower wage scale for newer workers and to a new a three-tier program of health benefits.