JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The International Longshoremen's Association and U.S. Maritime Alliance reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract late Friday – averting a possible Feb. 7 strike at ports along the East and Gulf coasts.
Our newsgathering partners with the Jacksonville Business Journal report that the nation's retailers and port agencies have kept close watch on contract negotiations for several months, in hopes that the two parties would come to an agreement before the contract fell through, which could have led to a strike along 14 East and Gulf coast ports, including Port Miami, Port Everglades and Jacksonville Port Authority.
A strike could have partially closed Jaxport.
The original deadline for a new contract was Sept. 30. It was extended three months to Dec. 30. Container royalties brought negotiations to a standstill in December and, at the last minute, the two parties agreed to extend the deadline again, this time for a little over a month.
The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service, the middleman agency that has handled the dispute since September, said all ports will remain open during the follow-through process of ratification.
"We thank everyone involved for the hard work that went into this agreement. Now we look forward to continuing the momentum we’ve built over the years and achieving our vision for the future," said Roy Schleicher, Jaxport's interim CEO, in a statement.
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