The International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have now agreed to extend their labor contract for 30 days so that negotiations may continue.
After the latest breakdown in labor negotiations, ports along the U.S. East and Gulf coasts, including Charleston, are threatened with a strike by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA).
The ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents cargo carriers, ports and other employers, have thus far failed to reach agreement on various issues, including the freezing and eventual phasing out of “container royalties.” Container royalties are assessments on individual containers moving in and out of ports, the proceeds of which are divided among eligible union members.
USMX reportedly agreed to a short extension of the existing labor contract, but the ILA refused the extension and voted to strike. Unless some reconciliation is reached, the strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. on December 29, 2012. The effect of the strike will be to shut down container traffic through the affected ports, although it is unclear whether bulk, breakbulk, automobile and cruise ship activity will be affected.