WASHINGTON – A longshoremen’s union and shipping companies at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports reached a tentative agreement late Friday night for the handling of cargo containers, averting a strike that could have incapacitated shipping along the East Coast and reportedly cost the economy more than $1 billion a day.
The International Longshoremen’s Association, which represents 14,650 workers handling cargo nationwide, and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, a group of container carrier companies and port associations along the East and Gulf coasts, have been in concentrated negotiations since last year.
A strike could have cost the economy $1 billion a day, limiting the availability, or raising prices, of consumer goods, according to an Associated Press report.
The New York Times reported that the sides reached a deal on the main point of their dispute, which was focused on container royalty payments that shipping companies share with union members for each ton of cargo handled. The report added that the two sides have agreed to extend the contract an additional week to try to reach an agreement on remaining issues.