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Mayor travels to capitol to help resolve labor dispute


Mayor Eric Garcetti was in San Francisco Wednesday 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 (PMA), which represents port management, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), 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 this week, 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.

Garcetti said Tuesday that due to the port dispute, not many goods are leaving the United States, while “imports are still coming in.”

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.