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U.S. labor secretary visits top West Coast ports as union talks loom -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: U.S. Vice President Harris looks on at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local. The visit was part of a promotion for the infrastructure plan. It took place in Columbus, Ohio. U.S. November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – The U.S. Labor Secretary met Tuesday with workers and labor unions in the busiest port complex of Southern California. As anxiety mounts ahead next year’s negotiations for roughly 22,000 West Coast dockworkers,

It expires July 31, and there are significant stakes for the Los Angeles/Long Beach port, which receives 40% of U.S. exports. Side-by-side docks are jammed with containers and over four hundred container ships as Walmart (NYSE) scrambles to fill shelves with holiday presents

In 2014 and 2015, the talks were contentious. This led to port shut downs temporarily. This could lead to a repeat of the 2014 and 2015 talks that were contentious.

Marty Walsh, Labor Secretary said that interested parties have been talking to each other and that he would be available if the sides reached an impasse. Walsh added, “If necessary and asked, I would certainly step in whenever to support the effort to reach a resolution.”

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) that represents workers at 29 ports in California, Oregon and Washington recently rejected a one-year contract extension offer from the 70 ocean carriers and terminal operators represented by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

In a statement, the PMA stated that it believes that a one year extension to the contract with the ILWU is in the nation’s best interest. However, it said that they “will be ready to negotiate next year.”

According to the ILWU, its members approved an earlier extension of the contract. Members have waited seven years for dockworkers to be addressed.

This contract’s expiration is accompanied by a renewed interest in organized labour. U.S. workers are frustrated by the low wages and high profits of companies such as (NASDAQ): They want better pay and the ability to unionize.

Hapag-Lloyd Container Shipping, AP Moller-Maersk, and other international carriers have made huge profits due to record-setting cargo volumes.

Willie Adams of ILWU International, president, called upon shipping companies and terminal operators in a statement to create good jobs in communities that will support their bottom line.

Adams explained that Adams’s comments were a proof point of the importance and enormous benefit to America’s economic system.

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