Port Applauds Call for Federal Mediator in Labor Talks
January 6, 2015
Port of Oakland Applauds Call for Federal Mediator in Labor Talks
Agreement seen as first step in breaking eight-month waterfront negotiating impasse
Oakland, CA – Jan. 6, 2015 – The Port of Oakland today applauded a decision to bring federal mediation to stalled West Coast waterfront labor talks. It called the action a key first step in breaking an eight-month negotiating impasse between employers of the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Representatives from both sides asked last night for outside help in negotiating a contract to replace one that expired last July.
"The announcement shows that both sides understand the importance of arriving at a contract settlement," said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle. "The impasse has affected port operations up and down the West Coast and the sooner it's resolved, the sooner we can resume the normal flow of trade in and out of the U.S."
Ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported productivity declines in the fourth quarter of 2014 that slowed trade flows. Labor-management disputes were cited as one of the principal causes. A new contract for dockworkers is expected to help restore the flow of containerized cargo.
The Port of Oakland is not part of the waterfront labor talks. As a landlord port, it leases its facilities to private-sector operators who manage terminals and hire longshore workers. Nevertheless, the Port and terminal operators have taken an active role in addressing the impact of stalled negotiations. The steps include:
- Night and weekend gates to help ease a cargo buildup at marine terminals;
- Express lanes to speed the movement of containerized imports out of the Port; and
- Daily status updates for customers that include reports on waterfront staffing levels.
Mediation is just the first step in producing a new contract for dock workers. The goal is to craft a deal that can be ratified by employers and the full union membership. Both sides have remained mum on the issues that stand in the way an agreement.
About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport and Oakland International Airport. The Port's jurisdiction includes 20 miles of waterfront from the Bay Bridge through Oakland International Airport. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland.
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