Deal in Works to Avoid Economically Crippling Ports Strike

A deal is in the works among longshoremen and their employers that could avert a potentially crippling, multibillion-dollar hit on the Florida economy.

“The agreement, between U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) and the AFL-CIO-affiliated International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), was announced by federal mediators after contentious negotiations that had to be extended several times,” the Hill reported.

Port officials in Florida had worried that the impact of a strike would be seen immediately across the Sunshine State, reaching beyond the port front to truck drivers, manufacturers, retailers and even the tourist industry.

JaxPort, Port Everglades, PortMiami and the Port of Tampa, the state’s largest container ports, would be the most directly impacted of Florida’s 15 ports.

Gov. Rick Scott even urged President Obama to consider using the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act which gives the nation’s top executive the power to directly address the dispute and order striking workers back to work for 80 days.

“We urge the parties to quickly complete any outstanding negotiations, including local negotiations at each of the individual 14 ports, and quickly ratify the new labor agreement,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“If the tentative agreement holds, the new labor contract will bring much-needed certainty and predictability to the supply chain for retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries that rely on the ports to move the nation’s commerce and trade.”

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