ILA, USMX reach tentative 6-year contract agreement; Avoid port strikes

From this morning's Journal of Commerce

The International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance reached tentative agreement on a six-year coast-wide master contract late Friday night, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said.

“The tentative agreement is subject to the ratification procedures of both parties and, as well, to agreements being achieved in a number of local union negotiations. Those local negotiations are ongoing and will continue without interruption to any port operation,” FMCS Director George H. Cohen said in a statement.

Cohen would not disclose details of the agreement, which averted the possibility of a Maine-to-Texas work stoppage. The current ILA-USMX contract had been set to expire at midnight Wednesday. It was originally due to expire Sept. 30 but was extended twice.

The contract agreement was announced at 11:10 p.m. Friday after four days of meetings in Newark, N.J., with federal mediators. The coast-wide master contract covers all container ports on the East and Gulf coasts. Supplemental local agreements cover work rules and other port-specific issues.

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