With dozens of container ships at anchor outside U.S. West Coast ports, there still appears to be no budging from either side of ongoing labor negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU)—at least not publicly.
However, according to the American Journal of Transportation, some progress is being made behind the scenes by federal mediators and U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. Perez, who arrived at the negotiating table earlier this week, brings a message from Washington that this has gone on long enough. Recent letter writing campaigns about the impasse’s impact on the U.S. economy seem to have registered at various levels of government. The costs are mounting for missed sales and rotting produce as the stalemate continues. Sending Secretary Perez is a clear message from the Obama administration may be forced to invoke provisions of Taft-Hartley if an agreement isn’t reached soon.
Rich Roche is Vice President, International Transportation for Mohawk Global Logistics.
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