Roller coaster negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) are continuing today, with some sources saying Friday afternoon that the chances of a settlement look much better than they did less than 24 hours ago.
Talks continued to 10:30 p.m., Thursday, and resumed late Friday morning. Meetings were expected to continue this afternoon and possibly into Saturday and Sunday. (Updates available on American Shipper
's twitter feed twitter.com/americanshipper.)
Two management sources who said just a day ago that they were almost certain there would be a strike when the current, twice-extended contract expires at the end of Wednesday, Feb. 6, said they now thought there was a chance a deal will be reached.
One source attributed the turnaround to forceful rhetoric by officials from the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on Thursday afternoon that kept the union from backing away from a compromise on container royalties that had been worked out in late December.
But another source cautioned against trying to gauge the progress of the ongoing talks - "If you talk to the same person, they may feel differently every 30 minutes," he said. - Chris Dupin