East and Gulf coast ports still running, for the time being
By reaching a short term extension, a strike that would have shut down many of the nation’s major seaports on the East and Gulf coasts has been postponed.
The United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Assn. have reached an agreement on container royalty fees, one of the most heated and controversial issues in the negotiation.
Employers have attempted to put a cap on royalty fees (which supplement dockworker wages) and limit who gets them. The longshoremen’s union has been against the changes.
If it had gone into effect, the strike would have efficaciously stopped the flow of consumer goods to virtually the entire half of the U.S. Talks will now go on until at least Feb. 6.
“The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement,” George H. Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said in a statement.
The National Retail Federation, which represents many of the nation’s largest retail chains, told the L.A. Times Friday that it was pleased to learn of the latest contract extension, but referred to it as only a temporary reprieve.
In the dispute, are 14 ports with over 15,000 dockworkers. The ports are among the busiest in the country.