Maritime union strike ended

The American Steamship Company and more than 100 employees on the Great Lakes have reached an agreement to end their week-long strike.

One hundred forty sailors with the American Maritime Officers union went on strike early Monday morning when their contract with the expired. The employees operate 14 huge freighters on the Great Lakes.

The agreement doesn't solve differences over wages, and health and retirement benefits, but AMO President Tom Bethel said it will allow his members to return to work.

"They'll work under the terms of the old agreement, same wages, same benefits," Bethel said. "They'll operate for the balance of this season under those terms, which will take them to January or February, whenever the lakes freeze up."

The company and the union will then have until the beginning of the 2012 shipping season to work out a new contract, Bethel said. American Steamship Company is the largest Great Lakes Shipping Company, hauling mainly taconite and coal.

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