White House Steps Into West Coast Ports Dispute

Retail groups have long sought White House involvement to help solve the longstanding labor dispute impacting the flow of goods at west coast ports. Now, they are finally getting their wish.

Reuters reported that President Barack Obama is sending Labor Secretary Tom Perez to California in an effort to help broker an agreement between dockworkers and shipping companies. Continued contract negotiations have stalled, which led to a partial shutdown of key west coast ports.

White House spokesperson Eric Schultz told Reuters that the Obama administration is urging the parties involved to resolve their differences.

The President’s decision to send Perez came after shippers said they would prevent the loading and unloading of cargo through Monday, February 16, unless there was a settlement with the dockworkers’ union.

Jonathan Gold, vp/supply chain, with the National Retail Federation, said, “We welcome the administration’s attention to this important national and international economic and supply chain issue and hope it recommits the two sides to reaching a deal. The slowdowns, congestion and suspensions at the west coast ports need to end now.”