The two sides locked in a contract talks affecting activity at more than a dozen Eastern U.S. ports announced late Friday that they have come to a tentative agreement and face only small hurdles in finalizing a deal.
During a recent extension period to the existing contract under the direction of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen, the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance Ltd. came to agree on the major points of a new collective bargaining agreement. Granted, local agreements still need to be worked out and ratification is still necessary, but the greater negotiation has become a done deal. Still, scant details are being released by either organization.
"We have come away from these Master Contract negotiations with landmark agreements on automation, protection of chassis work and powerful jurisdiction language," ILA President Harold Daggett said.
The contract between the two organizations was set to expire during in late December. Importantly, the two sides agreed to extend. The deal came as a relief to companies involved in trade, especially after the last time a port-involved contract dispute arose – in early December, also involving the Longshoremen, but in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area of California – a majority of the largest U.S. port's capabilities were closed for just over a week. Some estimates noted that upwards of $1 billion in goods per day were blocked during the dispute.
Similar daily losses were forecast in this instance, and a lockout or strike would have affected the following ports: Boston, New York/New Jersey, Delaware River, Baltimore, Hampton Roads, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Port Everglades, Miami, Tampa, Mobile, New Orleans, and Houston.
-Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer