LOS ANGELES — Despite the Pacific Maritime Association’s request for federal mediation in its ongoing negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for a key labor contract, the union representing nearly 20,000 dockworkers said it will take more time to carefully evaluate a range of proposals.
On Monday, the association, which includes more than 70 multinational ocean carriers and waterfront companies, said it voluntarily asked the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to intervene in its seven-month-long talks with the union. On Tuesday, more than 160 national, state and local trade associations and organizations wrote to President Obama, urging his administration to immediately assist the two sides.
This was the second letter that Obama received in regards to the labor negotiations that have marred cargo shipments via 29 ports during the peak holiday season. Early last month, 105 trade associations, representing retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries, pressed Obama to convince the union and association to work with federal mediators.
In November, the FMCS said it would enter into negotiations only with a joint request from both parties. On Monday, the agency said it has been closely monitoring the negotiations for some time and has stood ready to provide mediation services at a moment’s notice. It said its mediators will promptly reach out to the association and union to determine whether and when mediation assistance would be most valuable.
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