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Deal reportedly set on key issue.
The threat of a major strike by dock workers this weekend was averted, said the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), as labor and management representatives at 15 container ports along the Gulf and East Coasts reached a deal on a key provision and extended their contract talks to Jan. 28.
FMCS Director George Cohen said the International Longshoremen's Association and United States Maritime Alliance of terminal operators reached an agreement in principal Thursday on a container royalties issue that had kept the two sides apart, subject to completion of a final overall contract accord.
The parties agreed to keep negotiating over remaining contract issues another 30 days, or until midnight Jan. 28, and the FMCS would set a negotiation schedule soon.
Cohen thanked ILA President Harold Daggett and USMX Chairman & CEO James Capo, "for their ongoing adherence to the collective bargaining process, which has enabled them to avoid the imminent deadline for a work stoppage that could have economically disruptive nationwide implications."
National Retail Federation President Matthew Shay, who often led the industry push to warn about the strike risks, said "We welcome today's news that a contract extension has been reached. However, we continue to urge both parties to remain at the negotiating table until a long-term contract agreement is finalized."
Shay said a strike "would have severe economic ramifications for the local, national and even global economies and wreak havoc on the supply chain