Members of the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union have worked without a contract since July 1, 2014. Though negotiators between the union and Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping lines and operators of port terminals, reached a tentative agreement on health care benefits, in recent months the two sides traded more public criticism than contract proposals.
As ILWU workers slow the movement of cargo at western US ports, it’s become a dire situation that has affected all US imports. As a federal mediator gets involved, hope is in the air for the contract negotiation stalemate to be resolved. Get the latest on this situation from these articles in the Washington Post (Federal Mediator to Help West Coast Ports Contract Dispute) and Capital Press (Mediators Prevent Port Dispute From Escalating) and an overview from this MSN Money video from The Street.