Dockworkers, employers negotiating new West Coast seaport contract race against deadline

Economic Indicators Associated Press

With a Friday deadline looming, negotiators for the two sides in the contract dispute that has snarled international trade at West Coast seaports are laboring to reach a settlement.

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez told dockworkers and their employers that if they cannot seal a deal in San Francisco, he'll take the parties to Washington. The idea is that, after nine months of talks, a change of scenery and proximity to elected leaders who are increasingly calling for a resolution will help.

Billions of dollars of cargo are sitting on dozens of massive ocean-going ships anchored outside the 29 ports. They cannot dock because of historically bad cargo bottlenecks at ports that handle about $1 trillion of trade annually, much of it with Asia.