Retailers press Obama to intervene in West Coast port strike

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Shay said the White House should get involved because "[T]his strike is now at the national emergency stage impacting industries far and wide.

" ‘Urging’ both sides toward a solution is not the answer," Shay said. "The Obama Administration needs to show leadership and resolve to get the ports operational again and prevent any further economic damage.”

The White House has not commented publicly about the West Coast port strike.

The Harbor Employers Association has said that work stoppage has shut down 10 of the 14 terminals in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

Neither side in the negotiations has shown signs of backing down from their positions.

"These workers have gone 30 months without a contract and are drawing a line against the steady and irresponsible outsourcing of their jobs to the lowest bidder," the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind said over the weekend in a statement of support for the striking port workers.

“Instead of negotiating in good faith, industry representatives have asked the federal government to intervene in this legal strike," he continued. "These efforts must be soundly rejected. Instead, management officials must negotiate a fair and balanced contract that will preserve these jobs now for future workers. Until that happens, we will stand solidly behind the working men and women of ILWU Local 63 who walk a picket line in the name of economic justice.”

The Harbor Employees Association said it was the union who was not being fair in the negotiations, however.

"Last night, in their latest bid to get the ports working again, the harbor employers offered the OCU new proposals containing further concessions in connection with the OCU's 'featherbedding' demands — the requirements that employers call in temporary workers and hire new employees even if there is no work for those individuals to perform," the group said in a statement Sunday. "The OCU immediately rejected the proposals.

"In addition to their latest concessions on staffing, the employers continue to offer wage and pension increases, an absolute job guarantee against layoffs, and a promise to maintain all other OCU benefits that the employers have previously offered — all of which would bring the average annual OCU wage-and-benefits package to more than $190,000 over the next three and one-half years," the Harbor Employers' Association continued.

The port management association added that "[T]he weeklong strike by the clerks is now expected to extend into a second week, leaving hundreds of thousands of people who support port operations without work and severely impacting the local and national economies.

"The strike's impact is widening and is already costing the national economy billions of dollars by many estimates," the group said. "Sadly, the OCU continues to put the self-interests of 600 members ahead of the local community, the ports' future viability, and the economic welfare of an entire country."

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