Good news for the US maritime industry: It won't have to weather any labor squalls in the next three years. Three maritime unions -- the National Maritime Union (20,000 members), the Seafarers' International Union (14,000), and the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (11,000) -- have negotiated new contracts. The agreements provide for basic wage increases of 7.5 percent a year, plus annual cost-of-living adjustments.
The quietly negotiated settlements are in line with the average 7.7 percent a year hikes reported for the first quarter of 1981 by the US Labor Department.
The bad news for shipowners and their customers: The settlements wi ll probably hoist up shipping rates.m