Strike likely averted at East Coast ports

NEW YORK — 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.

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Boeing makes investments in future of autonomous flight

“We believe these are … technology enablers that could change the future of aviation.”

Behavioral economics still requires some development

It promises a better understanding of human decision making and a better economic model.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Most Read