|Major cargo shippers and the union representing dockworkers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports have agreed to talks on a possible extension of their current contract, which is set to expire in mid-2019, the two sides said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Negotiators for the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union tentatively plan to meet on Nov. 1-2 to discuss the proposal, which comes about 19 months after a contract settlement that capped months of labor strife and shipping disruptions at the ports. The shipping companies and terminal operators are eager to ensure continued labor stability at the ports for as long as possible, avoiding a potential repeat of disruptions that by some estimates could have ended up costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars.|
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