ILWU, PMA ACCEPT FEDERAL MEDIATOR
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association have agreed to accept the offer of Peter J. Hurtgen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to help resolve technology issues between the two groups.
The ILWU and PMA said they would meet with the federal mediator at a neutral site on Thursday.
“We hope this signals a breakthrough, and we look forward to discussing with the union the steps that will enable ports to reopen,” said Tom Edwards, the PMA’s Northern California manager.
“These talks will focus only on the technology issue,” said Steve Stallone, a spokesman for the ILWU.
Meanwhile the PMA's lockout of ILWU workers continued for a seventh day Thursday. The association representing port employers wants the union to sign an extension to the three-year contract expired June 30. Through July and August, the two sides had continued to operate at terminals through daily extensions of the contract. The ILWU would not sign the extension on Sept. 2 and the PMA accused the union of conducting work slowdowns. The PMA locked out the ILUW Sept. 27 and, except for part of Sunday, the ports have remained closed, except for military cargo.
Meantime, the union and PMA on Thursday allowed one ship, the 'Maersk Innovator,' carrying military cargo to sail from the Port of Oakland. The PMA and ILWU had agreed to allow the handling of military cargoes despite the lockout.
Studies indicate that the shutdown of the West Coast Ports that began last Friday evening is costing the U.S. economy $1 billion a day.