NEW YORK – The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the New York Shipping Association recently reached a tentative six-year agreement, potentially averting a crippling work stoppage at East Coast ports, according to news reports.

The deal struck between local shipping companies and the union, which represents more than 4,000 longshoremen at the port of New York and New Jersey, resolves some regional issues that were not covered under a master contract that was crafted in February. The union can present a master contract and local agreements to its members only after the local deals are settled. The master contract covers all East and Gulf Coast ports.

Union leaders will review the local contract agreement in Tampa, Fla., the week of March 18, and a vote is planned the following week. The ILA and the US Maritime Alliance have been negotiating a new six-year master agreement since March 2012.