West Coast Port Labor Talks Draw White House Involvement - Modern Distribution Management

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West Coast Port Labor Talks Draw White House Involvement

Despite the dockworkers' union saying work continues during labor talks, employers are highlighting disruptive actions slowing operations.
Port of Seattle ILWU worker

Despite the International Longshore and Warehouse Union president saying West Coast dockworkers are working through the expired collective bargaining agreement, the Pacific Maritime Association representing the ports has highlighted disruptive work actions that have slowed operations. Is the White House stepping in?

While both the PMA and ILWU have declined to comment on details of the labor talks, PMU said in a June 12 statement that the ILWU did not fill labor orders at several terminal operators and withheld lashes from terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on June 11, which resulted in vessels having to miss their scheduled departures.

And at the Port of Seattle, PMA claimed the union “continued to stage disruptive work actions that led to containerized terminal operations coming to a halt. In some cases, the union slowed down operations, resulting in longshore workers being sent home. On another shift, the union failed to dispatch longshore workers which effectively shut down the port.”

On June 13, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Joe Biden’s acting U.S. Labor Secretary Julie Su appears to be trying to ease the tension between the parties as employers “grow increasingly frustrated with dockworkers disrupting operations,” according to the report. CNBC reported it confirmed Su’s involvement in the talks, but declined to further comment.

The move follows a call from manufacturing and retail associations for a White House intervention in the negotiations to prevent obstruction of goods movements through the major ports. 



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