The potential for port strikes on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts has been averted for at least three months after the dockworkers' union and the country's maritime authority were able to reach a breakthrough in negotiations.
The International Longshoreman's Union (ILA) was threatening strikes if their demands with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) were not met by Sep. 30, but both parties agreed today to extend the collective bargaining agreement expiration date to Dec. 29.
In a USMX release, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) director George Cohen described the negotiation session as "productive" with progress made on several important subjects.
"In taking this significant step, the parties emphasized that they are doing so "for the good of the country" to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce," he said.
"This extension will provide the parties an opportunity to focus on the outstanding core issues in a deliberate manner apart from the pressure of an immediate deadline.
"The negotiations on the Master Agreement will be conducted during the same time frame as negotiations for local agreements."
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