Longshoremen deal good news for Mobile workers


{} {} 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.