Dock Workers Deal Could Avoid Strike at Mobile

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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- The head of Alabama's state dock says a partial contract agreement between union longshoremen and shippers should help avoid a strike that could hurt Alabama's automotive industry.

Jimmy Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority, says a walkout by the International Longshoremen's Association would affect container shipments through Mobile, which handles about 2 million tons of such imports and exports annually.

Lyons says the port handles about 400 containers a week for the Hyundai plant near Montgomery, so a walkout would be felt north of Mobile.

A federal mediator says workers' contract on the East and Gulf coasts was extended for 30 days after the sides agreed on a key issue.

Union local president Mark Bass says about 800 workers in Mobile were preparing for a strike beforehand.

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