Parties in the bitter Port Authority labor dispute reached tentative agreement tonight at the International AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., after four days of special negotiations unprecedented in the authority's 44-year history.
The tentative settlement was announced this evening in a joint statement from the Port Authority and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85, which represents about 2,300 drivers and low-level supervisors.
"We are glad to inform the community that the Port Authority public transportation service will continue without interruption," the statement read.
Terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed. But the statement said that the terms of the previous contract, which expired on June 30, 2008, will remain in effect until a new pact is ratified by the union membership and approved by the Port Authority board.
The possible agreement ends uncertainty for commuters who have been bracing for a work stoppage as early as Monday. That's when the Port Authority had promised to impose its last contract offer, which likely would have landed in court. Union officials had said that an imposed contract would constitue a lockout and likely would result in a work stoppage.