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Report: US Ports Strike Averted in Labor Deal

  • Reuters

Driver watches as a freight container is lowered onto a tractor trailer by crane, Port of Boston, Dec. 18, 2012.

Driver watches as a freight container is lowered onto a tractor trailer by crane, Port of Boston, Dec. 18, 2012.

A union representing dockworkers on the U.S. East Coast has reached a labor agreement with shippers that will avert a strike that threatened to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.

Containers Per Port in 2011

New York/New Jersey 4,431,053
Savannah 2,269,213
Houston 1,430,907
Charleston 1,122,392
Jacksonville 771,203
Source: US Army Corps of Engineers
The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), which represents 14,500 workers at 15 container ports in the eastern United States, and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) of shippers, terminal operators and port authorities, have agreed to extend their current contract by 30 days to finalize details, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said on Friday.

Government mediators say union and management
ILA Facts
-Largest union of maritime workers in North America
-Represents 65,000 longshoremen
-Organized in 1892
-Affiliations: American Federation of Labor; Congress of Industrial Organizations; Canadian Labour Congress; International Transport Workers' Federation
Source: International Longshoremen's Association
representatives had agreed to attend talks before the contract expired.

Meanwhile, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is still working to resolve a separate dispute in the Pacific Northwest involving 3,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association.

These groups handle nearly half of U.S. wheat exports. Union members voted to reject a contract but may continue working while seeking further bargaining.

These disagreements come just a few weeks after an eight-day strike by 450 clerks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That hampered activities at the largest U.S. container port when thousands of union members refused to cross the clerks' picket lines.
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