| March 7
March 7 Longshoremen in New York and New Jersey,
who handle shipments at the largest port on the U.S. East Coast,
have reached a tentative six-year labor agreement with the New
York Shippers Association, both sides said on Thursday.
The negotiations ended with a deal just before a Friday
deadline. A spokesman for the International Longshoremen's
Association (ILA) confirmed there was a deal with port terminal
operators and shippers, but declined to provide details.
Witnesses told Reuters that the mediation appeared tense,
with screaming and, at one point, talk of a potential walk-out.
America's ports have been the scene of a series of
increasingly heated struggles between port workers and their
employers on the East, West and Gulf coasts in recent months
centering on pay, workplace efficiency and automation.
About 4,500 longshoremen and women work at the Port of New
York and New Jersey, or roughly a third of all longshoremen on
the East Coast. The port handles about 3 million containers
annually, mostly through three main terminals in New Jersey.
The deal on Thursday was significant because it is part of
larger talks between the ILA, which represents 14,500 dock
workers at 15 ports on the East and Gulf coasts, and the U.S.
Maritime Alliance (USMX) of shippers, terminal operators and
With a strike looming, the two sides agreed a tentative deal
on Feb. 1 for a new master contract. That contract will go
before a union committee for approval next week in Florida and
then move to members to ratify.
But the master contract is also contingent on the ability of
workers to reach additional agreements for individual ports,
where work rules and other local issues still have to be
hammered out. Those talks are ongoing.
New York Shipping would not provide details, but said a few
issues still needed "refinement" and would be discussed next
week at the meeting in Florida.
"I'm am very pleased with the tentative agreement because it
will provide the tools and the means to address many of the
issues that will make our port more efficient and productive,"
New York Shipping Association President Joseph Curto said in a