A last-minute contract extension on December 28 postponed potential work stoppages at ports along the East and Gulf coasts that were due to take effect December 29. The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) earlier failed to meet a September deadline on labor negotiations and are currently operating under an extended negotiating period.
The two sides are working with a federal mediator to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. In September, the ILA had agreed to postpone a threatened labor action on the East and Gulf coasts for 90 days to continue negotiations at both the local and master contract levels. The current extension pushes that to February 6, 2013.
With many goods in the promotional products industry produced in China, Vietnam and elsewhere, strikes such as this have an impact on industry companies importing products from abroad. USMX represents shipping industry management along both coasts, and the ILA’s strike would halt cargo operations from Maine to Texas.