1 week into federal mediation, cargo movement still slow at West Coast sea ports

IndustriesAssociated Press

Cargo continues to move slowly through the West Coast's major sea ports, despite the intervention of a federal mediator to help dockworkers and their employers reach a new contract.

The ports are a vital economic link to Asia, and hundreds of billions of dollars of goods moves through them each year.

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In recent months, a protracted contract dispute has spilled from the negotiating table onto the docks — and containers are taking longer to reach their destinations.

An association representing shipping lines and port terminal operators says workers are deliberately slowing down; the longshoremen's union cites a lack of proper equipment to move containers to distribution warehouses.

The union agreed to federal mediation last week. Despite meeting consistently since, neither side says much progress has been made.