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Obama Sends Labor Secretary to West Coast for Port Talks

February 14, 2015

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President Barack Obama is sending U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez to California to help resolve a labor dispute at West Coast ports that account for almost half of U.S. cargo. 

Perez will urge dockworkers and port operators to reach an agreement quickly at the bargaining table, the White House said Saturday in an e-mailed statement. Talks began in May. The negotiations cover about 20,000 union members in 29 ports including Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two biggest in the U.S. by container volume. 

Congestion at the ports has hampered imports and exports, and consumers are seeing the result -- whether it’s the rationing of french fries in Japan or shortages of some toys at Christmas. 

“We welcome the administration’s attention,” Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said in an e-mail. “The slowdowns, congestion and suspensions at the West Coast ports need to end now.” Members of the Washington-based trade group include department stores, grocers and chain restaurants. 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obama-sends-labor-secretary-resolve-165844834.html

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