On September 20, George H. Cohen, Director of the (U.S.) Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), issued the following statement concerning the present round of labour negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance: “I am pleased to announce that at the close of today’s productive negotiation session, in which progress was made on several important subjects, the parties have agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement due to expire on September 30, 2012 for a ninety day period, i.e. through December 29, 2012. In taking this significant step, the parties emphasized that they are doing so “for the good of the country” to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce.
This extension will provide the parties an opportunity to focus on the outstanding core issues in a deliberate manner, apart from the pressure of an immediate deadline. The negotiations on the Master Agreement will be conducted during the same time frame as negotiations for local agreements. The negotiations will continue under the auspices of FMCS. Due to the sensitive nature of these high profile negotiations, we will have no further comment on the schedule for the negotiations, their location, or the substance of what takes place during these negotiations.”