NEW YORK With a
longshoremens union contract set to expire Dec. 29, talk
of a potential work stoppage along the East and Gulf coasts is
The president of the
International Longshoremens Association, Harold Daggett,
has been granted authority to call for a strike if negotiations
arent completed by the end of the month. "I ask all of
you that if management continues to take a hard-line approach
with us these next two days, to allow me to fight that fight,"
Daggett said in a statement Monday.
In September, the union extended
labor talks by 90 days after threatening to strike at 14
portsincluding such metal-heavy ports as Houston, New
York and Jersey, New Orleans and Mobile, Ala.if
negotiations with the U.S. Maritime Alliance Ltd. failed to
produce a new agreement (
amm.com, Sept. 21).
A strike, or even the potential
for a strike, will hurt cargo shipments such as steel,
according to Ricky Kunz, the Port of Houston Authoritys
vice president of trade development and marketing. "Will they
come to an agreement? I certainly hope so. I already know there
are some vessels that are diverted from this area to other
ports to make sure the cargo doesnt get hung up on the
docks," he told AMM. "The sooner they come to an
agreement, the better off we all are."
Kunz said that diverting vessels
could mean sending product to ports in Mexico or Canada, which
may add costs to the end customer.
According to the master contract
between the two sides, the strike would affect only container
shipments and roll-on, roll-off cargo.
The most recent set of
negotiations are set to conclude Wednesday.
A spokesman for the ILA could
not be reached for comment.