LOS ANGELES – With tension continuing to mount over labor issues at West Coast ports, the Biden administration has sent acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to act as mediator.
Su has been in contact with both the Pacific Maritime Assn. (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with the goal of helping them come to an agreement on wages, safety and automation. Some 22,000 dockworkers saw their five-year contracts expire last July and still have been unable to come to terms.
West Coast ports have been hit by labor disruptions multiple times in the past few months. Last week, six ports were either shut down or severely impacted, with some terminals continuing to struggle into this week.
“The ILWU is staging concerted and disruptive work actions that have effectively shut down operations and some marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the PMA said in a tweet. “The Union is also staging similar work actions that have shut down or severely impacted terminal operations at the Ports of Oakland, Tacoma, Seattle and Hueneme.”
The ILWU has so far declined to comment, citing a media blackout.
Disruptions have prompted calls from the industry for the Biden administration intervene. The National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Assn., National Assn. of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all voiced their concerns.
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