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Obama Sends Labor Secretary to Facilitate West Coast Port Negotiations

The Obama administration announced Saturday that U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez will travel to California to help facilitate an agreement between dockworkers and shipping companies entangled in the West Coast ports labor dispute.

“The negotiations over the functioning of the West Coast Ports have been taking place for months with the Administration urging the parties to resolve their differences,” Eric Schultz, the principal deputy press secretary at the White House, said in a statement. “Out of concern for the economic consequences of further delay, the President has directed his Secretary of Labor Tom Perez travel to California to meet with the parties to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table.”

The decision to intervene came after the Pacific Maritime Association said they would suspend the loading and unloading of cargo ships over the weekend and on President’s Day on Monday.

In a statement National Retail Federation vice president for supply chain Jonathan Gold 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.”