Florida Port Strike May Not Happen As Negotiations Continue Into 2013: News Release of the Week

by Rosa Eckstein Schechter
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Florida's economy needs its active and efficient ports and while on one hand, there's construction underway to make Port Miami big enough to deal with the increased traffic coming from the Panama Canal expansion, on the other hand there is the real danger right now that Miami's port as well as all ports on the East Coast and the Gulf Coast will come to a full stop as dockworkers are threatening to strike.

Work stopping at Miami's ports could be catastrophic to our local economy and officials are also pointing to the national strike as being a danger to national security. This is a very big deal.

The latest on this potential strike comes from Florida Governor Rick Scott and FMCS Mediators who provide the following optimistic news that negotiations are proceeding and that the strike negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association and the shipping companies have been continued into January 2013, where hopefully there will be a resolution without harm to our local economy. Here, our news release(s) of the week: 

Governor Scott Hopeful Agreement is Quickly Reached to Remove Threat of Port Shut Down

(December 28, 2012) -- Today, Gov. Scott made the following statement on the extension of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance negotiations.

Gov. Scott said, “The 30-day extension in the negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance is certainly good news for Florida. Cargo-related activity at Florida seaports supports more than 550,000 direct and indirect jobs, and contributes approximately $66 billion to our economy. We are hopeful these two organizations will quickly reach a final agreement to permanently remove the threat of a port shut down that would devastate families all across our state. We are asking the President to pursue any means possible – including invoking the Taft-Hartley Act – to avoid a work stoppage in the weeks ahead. A shut down of Florida ports is simply not an option.”

Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen on the East Coast Ports Labor Negotiations

Release Date: 12/28/2012

FMCS Director George H. Cohen issued the following statement today on the the United States Maritime Alliance and International Longshoremen's Association labor negotiations:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “I am extremely pleased to announce that the parties have reached the agreements set forth below as a result of a mediation session conducted by myself and my colleague Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director for Mediation Services, on Thursday, December 27, 2012:

“The container royalty payment issue has been agreed upon in principle by the parties, subject to achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement. The parties have further agreed to an additional extension of 30 days (i.e., until midnight, January 28, 2013) during which time the parties shall negotiate all remaining outstanding Master Agreement issues, including those relating to New York and New Jersey. The negotiation schedule shall be set by the FMCS after consultation with the parties.”

“Given that negotiations will be continuing and consistent with the Agency’s commitment of confidentiality to the parties, FMCS shall not disclose the substance of the container royalty payment agreement. What I can report is that the agreement on this important subject represents a major positive step toward achieving an overall collective bargaining agreement. While some significant issues remain in contention, I am cautiously optimistic that they can be resolved in the upcoming 30-day extension period.”

“On behalf of our Agency, I want to thank the parties, especially ILA President Harold Daggett and USMX Chairman & CEO James Capo, for their ongoing adherence to the collective bargaining process, which has enabled them to avoid the imminent deadline for a work stoppage that could have economically disruptive nationwide implications.”

 

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Rosa Eckstein Schechter
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