By Keith Laing - 09/06/12 02:39 PM EDT
“Due to the sensitivity of this high-profile dispute and consistent with the agency's longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place,” FMCS Director George Cohen said in a statement.
The Sept. 17 date for restarting negotiations will leave both sides with just two weeks to reach a deal before an Oct. 1 deadline. There are 82 ports in the United States that could be affected by a possible work stoppage.
Negotiations between the maritime alliance and the union for port workers have been ongoing since early this year, before talks were broken off in August.
The restarting of the negotiations was hailed Thursday by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
“We are pleased that the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and US Maritime Alliance, Ltd. (USMX) have agreed to return to the bargaining table to continue their negotiations," NRF Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement.
Gold said it was important for the talks to continue until both sides hammer out a deal to prevent a port work stoppage.
“We continue to strongly encourage both sides to remain at the table until a new deal is agreed upon, even if it goes beyond the end of the current contract on September 30," he said. “It is critical that negotiations continue without disruptions to the supply chain that could impact the critical holiday shipping season and the overall U.S. economy.”
-This story was updated with new information at 1:11 p.m.