The Port Strike Is Off: Container Cliff Avoided as Fiscal Cliff Summit Looms

The Atlantic
The Port Strike Is Off: Container Cliff Avoided as Fiscal Cliff Summit Looms
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The Port Strike Is Off: Container Cliff Avoided as Fiscal Cliff Summit Looms

Well here's one less thing to worry about: Mediators brokering talks between shipping companies and the International Longshoremens' Association say they've reached a deal that will avert a port strike that was set to begin on Sunday. The proposed strike would have shuttered 15 of the nation's largest ports from Maine to Texas and put 14,000 dockworkers on the picket lines just as the New Year was beginning. Those ports handle 45 percent of all maritime commerce in the United States.

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According to Bloomberg, the tentative agreement will extend the negotiating period for another 30 days, which federal mediator George Cohen says will be enough time to reach a final agreement on all the outstanding issues. The key sticking point was a cap on "container royalties " which are the bonuses paid to dockworkers based on total volume of all cargo that comes through their port.

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Today's deal avoid the so-called "container cliff" and puts to rest one of the major economic fears facing the country this weekend, leaving President Obama with just that other big headache as he launches a Hail Mary effort to avert a different fiscal disaster. He'll meet with Congressional leaders at the White House Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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