The dockworkers union along the East and Gulf Coasts is threatening to strike on October 1, should there be no agreement with transportation providers by the end of September. Such a work stoppage will adversely affect U.S. export and import shipments of most products – and likely result in collateral effects at West Coast ports, too – all a month before the presidential election.
The coast-wide master contract between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) is set to expire at midnight on September 30. The two parties have been negotiating since March but have not been able to reach an agreement for a new contract. In late August, negotiations collapsed and the ILA threatened to strike, but last week Federal mediators announced that the parties will return to the table on September 17th. The parties remain far apart and the prospect of a work slowdown or stoppage – whether by strike or lockout – is both real and imminent.
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