Obama Tasks Labor Secretary With Resolving Labor Dispute at West Coast Ports

Obama Tasks Labor Secretary With Resolving Labor Dispute at West Coast Ports

President Obama has ordered Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to San Francisco to resolve the ongoing labor dispute at West Coast ports between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), according to Outdoor Industry Association.

Talks between the two groups have steadily deteriorated in recent weeks as they negotiate a collective bargaining agreement covering dockworkers which expired last July. The ILWU represents dock workers at more than 29 West Coast ports, including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while the PMA represents waterfront employers.

“The negotiations over the functioning of the West Coast Ports have been taking place for months with the administration urging the parties to resolve their differences,” White House spokesperson Eric Schultz said Saturday. “Out of concern for the economic consequences of further delay, the president has directed his secretary of labor, Tom Perez, to travel to California to meet with the parties to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table.

“Secretary Perez is already in contact with the parties and will keep the president fully updated,” he added.

The PMA halted vessel loading and unloading at all 29 West Coast ports for the second time in a week Thursday Jan. 12  to avoid paying holiday premiums to dockworkers. Vessel operations are expected to resume Tuesday, Jan. 17.