NSGA Supports Federal Mediator to Help West Coast Ports Contract Dispute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: 
Marty Maciaszek, Director of Communications
(847)296-6742, ext. 1260
mmaciaszek@nsga.org 

MOUNT PROSPECT, IL (Jan. 6, 2015) - A federal mediator is getting involved in stalled contract talks between West Coast dockworkers and their employers, according to The Associated Press. 

Political and financial pressure has been building as each side blamed the other for the slow movement of billions of dollars of cargo across the docks at 29 ports that are a vital trade link with Asia. 

Since well before the now-expired contract ran its course last June 30, NSGA has urged both parties to the negotiations to reach a fair resolution to the dispute. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have continued operations without a contract in place since then, but in recent months, work slowdowns led to billions of dollars of goods not being expedited to their final destinations. 

The U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced its involvement Monday. While the development does not mean an immediate return to normalcy at the ports, a mediator has proven pivotal in past contract disputes. 

“We support federal mediation in this situation and hope that a new participant in the process can help both parties reach a resolution to this dispute,” NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson said. “Federal mediators have a reputation of helping parties resolve their differences, and we look forward to the day when goods move smoothly through West Coast ports once again.” 

Late Monday, the federal mediation service said it would get involved based upon "a joint request for assistance." 

In its statement, the service said deputy director Scot Beckenbaugh "has been assigned to help the parties bring these important negotiations to a mutually acceptable resolution."