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Longshoremen Reach Tentative Deal To Put Them Back To Work

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Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The union strikes a deal to get the massive Port of Baltimore back up and running–for now.

Linh Bui explains the deal is temporary, but puts workers back on the job.

Several issues were on the table, ranging from safety to wages. Around 7 p.m. Friday night, a resolution was reached.

The Port of Baltimore comes back to life after three days on the picket line for these longshoremen.

“As we speak, they’re back on the ships. We had ships in the harbor waiting to go to work anxiously to be unloaded. And we had people anxiously ready to offload them,” said Aaron Barnett, Vice President, Local No. 333.

The International Longshoremen’s Association Local No. 333 and the Steamship Trade Association agreed to a 90 day cool down. Negotiations will continue, but longshoremen can get back to work immediately.

“I think it’s a win win for everyone because we’re back to work,” Barnett said.

Maryland Port Administration Executive Director James White released this statement, saying:

“We’re very pleased that the Steamship Trade Association and ILA were able to agree to an extension and end the work stoppage. This ensures that cargo operations at the Port of Baltimore will commence immediately. It is good for everyone who works at the Port that this situation is behind us.” 

After the 90 days, there could be another strike, but the union is confident they’ll reach a fair contract. It’s a relief for striking workers unsure about their next paycheck.

“I’d rather work, believe me. It’s much easier to work than it is to go on strike,” said Paul Caruso, longshoreman.

The Port of Baltimore is the ninth largest in the nation and has a $6 billion impact on Maryland. If the strike had gone on longer, it would have had a massive impact on the state.

“Keep this economy going. Definitely great for the state of Maryland, our residents here,” said Lamont Coger, Walking Delegate, Local No. 333.

The port reopens at a critical time, with the busy holiday season right around the corner.

Local No. 333 represents around 1,000 workers. Three other unions joined the strike with them.

The Port of Baltimore handles some 30 million tons of cargo each year.

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