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

Happy accident leads Edmonds couple to make Hunniwater drink

The latest line of energy drinks by Karin and Eric… Continue reading

Single payer is no panacea for our costly health care system

We must address the cost of health care before designing an insurance system.

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

Career Fair planned next week at Tulalip Resort Casino

The Snohomish County Career Fair is planned from 10 a.m. to 2… Continue reading

American Farmland Trust president to speak in Mount Vernon

American Farmland Trust President John Piotti plans to give a talk about… Continue reading

Not home? Walmart wants to walk in and stock your fridge

The retailer is trying out the service with tech-savvy shoppers who have internet-connected locks.

Trade panel: Cheap imports hurt US solar industry

The ruling raises the possibility of tariffs that could double the price of solar panels.

Agent joins Re/Max in Smokey Point

Dennis Roland joined the Re/Max Elite Smokey Point office. The Navy veteran… Continue reading

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

Most Read