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Port Labor Despute afloat

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Mayor Eric Garcetti was in San Francisco today to
take part in talks to resolve the ongoing labor dispute between port employers
and dockworkers that’s affecting 29 West Coast ports, including the Los Angeles
and Long Beach ports.
The mayor met with the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents
port management, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the
representative for dockworkers, a mayoral aide said.
The months-long labor talks have grown increasingly contentious in
recent weeks, with the PMA issuing orders to halt the loading and unloading of
ships at all West Coast ports during the past two weekends. The employers
contend workers have been conducting an illegal slowdown that has driven down
productivity, and they did not want to pay weekend and holiday salary rates for
work that is not being done. The ILWU has denied any slowdown.
U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez intervened in the talks in San
Francisco Tuesday in an attempt to help resolve the dispute, and is continuing
to meet with the groups today, with federal mediators facilitating talks
between the two parties.
“The Port of L.A. is not only a local, but a national economic
powerhouse, which is why I’m up here, to deal directly with both sides,”
Garcetti told KNX radio during a break between meeting with the groups.
He said he is hoping to help move the two sides past a few lingering
issues.
“We cannot wait any longer … we’re talking about 40 to 45 ships that
can’t get into the docks — bring our shops what they need, get our workers on
the docks,” he said.
As one of the “big landlords” in the shipping industry, with 70
percent of cargo coming through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, “we have
much more to do together, if we move past this,” he said, such as investing in
“those docks to make them cutting edge.”
Garcetti said he has not decided when he will return to Los Angeles.
Mayoral spokesman Yusef Robb said the plan is to see how the meetings progress.
Garcetti made the announcement about his trip to San Francisco during the “Ask
the Mayor” segment on KNX, and his office sent out an official announcement
shortly after 11 a.m.
Robb said the mayor’s office only releases details of Garcetti’s travels
when the mayor leaves the state and needs to arrange for an acting mayor to
be in place. While in state, Garcetti, continues to function as the mayor.
Garcetti said Tuesday that due to the port dispute, not many goods are
leaving the United States, while “imports are still coming in.”
“But that means that our agriculture, that means that our raw materials
that we’re exporting out of the Port of L.A., are not moving,” the mayor said.
He warned that with port customers contracting with competing Gulf Coast
and East Coast ports, “trade may never come back if we don’t resolve” the
labor dispute.

San Pedro- "Exporting out of the Port of L.A., are not moving" Says Mayor Garcetti. Photo by Gary McCarthy
San Pedro- “Exporting out of the Port of L.A., are not moving” Says Mayor Garcetti.
Photo by Gary McCarthy

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