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5 Things You Need to Know About the Longshoremen Union Strike Being Averted (for Now)

Business
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, a truck driver watches as a freight container, right, is lowered onto a tractor trailer by a container crane at the Port of Boston in Boston. The crane and a reach stacker, left, are operated by longshoremen at the port. The longshoremen's union may strike if they are unable to reach an agreement on their contract, which expires Dec. 29, 2012. A walkout by dock workers represented by the International Longshoremen s Association would bring commerce to a near halt at ports from Boston to Houston. Credit: AP

FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, a truck driver watches as a freight container, right, is lowered onto a tractor trailer by a container crane at the Port of Boston in Boston. Credit: AP

(AP) -- The International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance agreed Friday to a 30-day contract extension, averting a potential strike Sunday by more than 14,000 dockworkers that could have brought commerce at major ports along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico to a near-standstill. Five things to know about the talks:

1. PORTS INVOLVED

Boston; New York-New Jersey; Philadelphia area; Baltimore; Hampton Roads, Va.; Wilmington, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Port Everglades, Fla; Tampa, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; and Houston.

2. THE DEADLINE

The contract expires at midnight on Jan. 28 now that the two sides agreed to a second contract extension. Federal mediators are involved, and the White House has urged dockworkers and shipping companies to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.

3. KEY ISSUE

A key sticking point until Friday was a Maritime Alliance proposal to freeze royalties workers get for every container they unload, which the union opposed. Federal mediators say this issue has been resolved but did not provide details.

4. GOODS THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED

A wide range of items transported in containers on ships, including things like flat-screen TVs, sneakers and snow shovels.

5. GOODS THAT AREN'T AFFECTED

Items including military cargo, mail, automobiles and perishables such as food.

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