Labor Secretary to Resume Talks to Break West Coast Port Impasse

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The union has blamed the shipping companies for the congestion, which it says stems from increased use of larger container ships and a shortage of trailers. (Credit: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times)

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Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is expected to meet with shipping companies and the dockworkers union Wednesday in an attempt to resolve a labor dispute that has intermittently stopped the unloading of ships at 29 West Coast ports.

The scheduled talks follow Perez’s “positive and productive meetings with both parties” Tuesday, according to a Department of Labor official.

“Secretary Perez stressed that it’s imperative the parties come to an immediate agreement to prevent further damage to our economy and further pain for American workers and their employers,” the official said.

After nine months of talks, the two sides agree on key issues including healthcare but have been gridlocked over rules governing the removal of arbitrators, who settle disputes on the docks.

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