PMA REQUESTS FEDERAL MEDIATOR ASSISTANCE WITH CONTRACT TALKS
DECEMBER 24, 2014
Almost six months since the contract expired between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), one of the two parties is asking for a federal mediator.
The PMA asked for outside assistance when on December 22nd spokesman Wade Gates released the following statement; “After seven months of negotiations, we remain far apart on many issues. At the same time, the union continues its slowdowns, walk-offs and other actions that are having impacts on shippers, truck drivers and other local workers – with no end in sight. It is clear that the parties need outside assistance to bridge the substantial gap between us.”
On December 23rd the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) acknowledged the request; “In accordance with its statutory responsibilities, the FMCS has been closely monitoring these negotiations for some time and has stood ready to provide mediation services at a moment’s notice.” “Due to the sensitivity of the negotiations, the FMCS will have no further comment on this request and will not comment regarding the status or substance of the negotiations.”
Also on Tuesday, a coalition of 166 U.S. Trade Associations sent a joint letter to President Obama and Congressional Leaders expressing their concerns over the West Coast port labor negotiations, and requested they intervene to move the negotiations into mediation.
As of December 24th, the ILWU has not released a statement concerning potential outside aid in the negotiations. Both parties have to agree to federal mediation before the FMCS would begin mediations.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will advice updates as they become available.