Strike Likely Averted at East Coast Ports

Strike likely averted at east cost ports
NEW YORK (AP) - The union for longshoremen along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico has agreed to extend its contract for 30 days, averting a possible strike that could have crippled operations at ports that handle about 40 percent of all U.S. container cargo, a federal mediator announced Friday.

The extension came after the union and an alliance of port operators and shipping lines resolved one of the stickier points in their months-long contract negotiations, involving royalty payments made to union members for each container they unload.

Negotiations will continue until at least midnight on Jan. 28. Some important contract issues remain to be resolved, but the head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George Cohen, said the agreement on royalties was "a major positive step forward."

"While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period," he said.

The terms of the royalty agreement were not announced.

The master contract between the International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, a group representing shipping lines, terminal operators and port associations, originally expired in September. The two sides agreed to extend it once before, for 90 days, but it had been set to expire again on 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

As recently as Dec. 19, the president of the longshoremen, Harold Daggett, had said a strike was expected.

A work stoppage would have idled shipments of a vast number of consumer products, from electronics to clothing, and kept U.S. manufacturers from getting pars and raw materials delivered easily.

Major ports that would have been frozen included the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Savannah, Ga., Houston and Hampton Roads, Va.

Other ports that would have been affected by a strike are Boston; Delaware River; Baltimore; Wilmington, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Port Everglades, Fla.; Miami; Tampa, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; and New Orleans.

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13 Comments

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redroad9

I'm a little suprised that the Long Shoremen are not covered under the Railway Labor Act like those who work for Railroads and Airlines.

December 30 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dpmatchless

I met a divorcee of a long shoreman out of Seattle. To get the same health coverage she had would cost her about $1,800 a month. Add that to the hourly wage. Sometimes unions are out of controll. However. We live in a union of states. They just spend out of controll...

December 30 2012 at 2:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
wbeinv

its not organized labor....Its organized crime

December 29 2012 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ghelm92160

Strictly political as the first extentsion was to avoid conflict right before the election, now not to interfere with the fiscal cliff problem. Obama don't want the country shut down at this time, just later on at his convenience!

December 29 2012 at 10:28 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Condley

How come we have just one union involved here? Looks like a union monopoly to me. Why don't we have the unions competing against eachother like corporations?

December 29 2012 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ghelm92160

Obama didn't want the country shut down during the fiscal cliff debate just like the last extension to avoid the shut down before the election! Just an indication of how far the unions are in bed with the President!

December 28 2012 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ghelm92160's comment
mdmichel8888

sort of like how corp are in bed with republicans

December 31 2012 at 12:12 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mdmichel8888's comment
photomnfrwhtfem

Thats funny the Oil company has Obama in there back pockets... gas has more than doubled since he has been in office but you blame who??? come on Obama not for the working man...

December 31 2012 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
ttruckr23

Several years ago, while waiting for paperwork at Balt. port I asked a port worker what the crane operators that unload the containers get. He claimed $180,000 per year minimum, before OT.

And they now will get MORE?

December 28 2012 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ttruckr23's comment
mdmichel8888

and josh hamilton gets 25 million a year for the angels.........whats your point ....that they are way under paid!!!!!!!!!!!

December 31 2012 at 12:14 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mdmichel8888's comment
rgmac12

they want to get paid to show up .. and then get paid to work ... amazing concept

You could probably replace all of them and not miss a day of work .. COMMODITY LABOR .. LIMITED SKILLS

December 31 2012 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
smaselli13

Wouldn't a royalty agreement, equate to a legal shakedown......like the mobsters did back in the 30's?

December 28 2012 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to smaselli13's comment
wfreeberg

Legal EXTORTION - criminal law the crime of obtaining something such as money or information from somebody by using force, threats, or other unacceptable methods

December 28 2012 at 7:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply