27254 Mon, 02/04/2013 - 1:15pm
WASHINGTON-The International Longshoreman’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance have reached a tentative labor agreement that would settle the contract dispute between the two parties.
Once ratified, the agreement would cover dockworkers at 14 East Coast and Gulf Coast ports which serve as key gateways for container goods on the retail supply chain. A statement from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which helped broker the tentative agreement, said along with ratification, the deal is also subject to agreements now being negotiated with local unions at the ports. “Those local negotiations are ongoing and will continue without interruption to any port operations,” said George H. Cohen, director of the mediation service.
The statement added that the mediation service would not disclose any details on the provisions of the tentative agreement, “out of respect for the parties’ ratification processes and consistent with the (service’s) long-standing confidentiality policy.”
The National Retail Federation issued a statement saying it is “pleased” at the news of the tentative agreement. “We urge the parties to quickly complete any outstanding negotiations, including local negotiations at each of the individual 14 ports, and quickly ratify the new labor agreement,” said Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO.
Shay added that the agreement, if it holds, “will bring much-needed certainty and predictability to the supply chain for retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries that rely on the ports to move the nation’s commerce and trade.”