A deal has been struck that for now averts a strike by 14,500 longshoremen at major ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.
The strike would have hit Florida hard. Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott said it would have had a devastating effect on Florida's families and economy.
A federal mediator announced Friday that an expired contract for workers in the International Association of Longshoremen would be extended for another 30 days while negotiations continue.
National Retail Federation President and CEO
Matthew Shay released this statement:
"We welcome today's news that a contract extension has been reached. However, we continue to urge both parties to remain at the negotiating table until a long-term contract agreement is finalized," a portion read. "While a contract extension does not provide the level of certainty that retailers and other industries were looking for, it is a much better result than an East and Gulf Coast port strike that would have shut down 14 container ports from Maine to Texas."
The longshoremen had been preparing for a possible strike Sunday that would probably have crippled operations at ports that handle about 40 percent of all U.S. container cargo.
"The livelihood of thousands of Florida families lies in the balance," Scott said during a news conference call this week with several of the state's port executives. "Florida's largest ports could be shut down. This is an issue of not just Florida importance but of national importance."
The mediator says there have been major steps forward toward resolving the dispute.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Looming strike threatens Florida ports - http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/20434958/2012/12/27/looming-strike-threatens-florida-ports
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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