The International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. (USMX) concluded three days of initial Master Contract negotiations in Orlando, Florida. The current Master Contract runs until September 30, 2010.

Richard P. Hughes, Jr., president of the ILA and its chief negotiator and James A. Capo, Chairman and CEO for USMX, characterized the Master Contract negotiations as productive and helpful and an important first step in achieving a new pact.

Though no agreement was reached at the Orlando meetings, the two sides established joint labor-management sub-committees that will meet in the near future to examine issues relating to specific waterfront crafts.

“The ILA and its employers represented by USMX exchanged proposals and studied economic conditions in the shipping industry,” said Mr. Hughes and Mr. Capo at the conclusion of the current round of negotiations. “We have a better understanding of the needs and concerns of ILA members and their employers. Our negotiations will continue to move forward and we are encouraged that the work of the subcommittees over the next several weeks will bring us closer to an agreement.”

Details of the ILA’s and USMX’s initial proposals were not made available.