Mediation talks have resumed between the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association, in the hopes of averting a strike at 14 container ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast.
Members of the poultry industry have shared concerns that a strike would shut down ports and not only be detrimental to U.S. commerce, but to the poultry trade as well. "Exports are an integral part of the market mix of the U.S. poultry industry, accounting for approximately 20 percent of production going to export," Larry Lieberman, president of Boston Agrex Inc., said in December 2012.
The latest contract extension is set to expire on February 6. The contract originally was set to expire September 30, 2012, but has been extended twice, with the last extension happening in late December 2012. Then, an issue centered around royalties to longshoremen was resolved, but other disagreements persisted.
“The United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association conducted negotiations during the three day period January 15-17, 2013. In these negotiations the parties made progress and have agreed that the negotiations will continue under our auspices,” Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen stated.
No dates or locations were released for the next negotiations, but bargaining was expected to resume the week starting January 20 on local contracts between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association and other local employer groups. Negotiations on the coast-wide master contract issues are expected to take place the week beginning January 27.