Negotiators for labor and management in the port of Baltimore talked into the night yesterday in an attempt to reach a contract agreement with the last of five longshoremen's locals.
A tentative, four-year agreement with four of the five port locals was reached Friday morning, reducing the threat of a strike, but negotiations with Local 953 of the International Longshoremen's Association, representing dock clerks and checkers, continued Friday night and resumed yesterday at 3 p.m.
"We're negotiating and we're hopeful," Richard P. Hughes Jr., leader of Local 953, said last night during talks at the Linthicum Heights headquarters of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots. "Management is caucusing in response to an offer we put forth."
The contract proposal reached Friday must still be ratified by the membership of the four locals, which are scheduled to vote tomorrow. Until then the longshoremen are working under an extension of the old contract, which expired at midnight Friday.
The local agreements are part of a national contract for longshoremen that will boost wages from $18 an hour to $22 over four years and benefits from $7.15 an hour to $8.05.