• DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
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  • DATVF.PHLCHI
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  • DATVF.LAXSEA
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  • DATVF.VEU
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  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
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  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
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  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
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  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.421
    -0.025
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.971
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  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.033
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  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.041
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  • DATVF.VEU
    1.527
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  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
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  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
    -0.002
    -0.2%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
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    -3%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
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American ShipperWarehouse

Labor secretary Perez says early consultations can avoid port labor impasses

Marine terminal officials agree that future contracts will require ongoing collaboration.

   Cargo is flowing once again at U.S. West Coast ports after several months of dysfunction thanks to a tentative labor agreement 10 days ago between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. That’s a big relief to shippers and transportation providers who were only able to conduct a fraction of their normal international business during the nearly 10-month long contract negotiations.
   The man responsible for brokering the deal, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, says the lesson for both sides is to build ties and become permanent business partners, rather than adversaries who only meet at contract time.
   “I think they have to start the negotiations earlier. That would be my first recommendation. And I think both sides need to come together around a shared vision of how we can transform the ports into the most efficient set of ports in the country,” he said Feb. 26 on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” 
   “It’s been my experience that you build those partnerships between labor and management – and I’ve seen it in the auto sector – I watched the UAW and Ford Motor Company come together during the depths of the recession. And the collaboration between labor and management has made Ford one of the most remarkable companies in the world. I think the same thing can happen in the West Coast ports,” he said.
   In this month’s American Shipper Magazine feature story, “The Perils of Deadline Bargaining,” several shipping industry executives and experts make a similar point that dockworkers’ unions and terminal management on both coasts need to maintain a constant dialogue and solve problems as they come up.
   “I have a philosophy: You don’t have to be in bargaining to bargain,” David Adam, the CEO of the PMA’s East Coast counterpart, the United States Maritime Alliance, said at an industry conference in December. “When these issues come up they should be resolved. We have a history of not resolving the issues throughout the contract and then we put them into a big huge pile. And we start three or four months before the end of the contract and we have to weed our way through that.”
   Longshoremen know how to make the ports more effective and should be consulted, Perez, a former assistant attorney general for civil rights known for his negotiating skill, said.
   “People who are in the front lines of any organization are people who have some of the best ideas for how to transform that organization. And I think they can come together, and I think they will come together around a shared vision of how we transform the West Coast ports into the most efficient and the most effective ports in the world,” he said.

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