After several mediations, the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) reached a tentative agreement last Friday night. Although it is still in the ratification process, with ongoing local union negotiations, operations at the ports will not be interrupted whatsoever. The deal averted what could have been a Maine-Texas work stoppage, which would have hemorrhaged millions of dollars in local revenues.
With details scarce, the coast wide master contract covers all container ports on the East and Gulf coasts, while supplemental local agreements will cover the work rules and other issues. As negotiations on several local contracts are still ongoing (ILA and the New York Shipping Association for example), it is with great relief that the two parties were able to come together and avoid a highly damaging work stoppage.