Economic consequences loom as the impasse continues between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and their employers organization, the Pacific Maritime Association. Ken Margolies, senior associate at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, says that intervention by Labor Secretary Tom Perez improves chances for a settlement, and predicts that the deadlock could soon be settled.

Margolies says:

“There seems to be only one issue left in negotiations between the union and the Pacific Maritime Association, so there is no reason for the continuing impediment to resumption of full West Coast port operations. “The remaining issue appears to be centered around whether arbitrators chosen jointly by the union and management should serve for unlimited life terms – preferred by management – or for limited terms commensurate with the contract duration, as proposed by the union. “The arbitration issue matters to the union because arbitration is the substitute for on-the-job work actions designed to pressure management over issues of worker safety and fair working conditions. “There are any number of compromises that could be employed to break the current deadlock. The entry of U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez into the talks may be the impetus needed for such a settlement”

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