LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) _ The Port of Oakland, along with 28 other West Coast seaports, will be mostly closed four of the next five days because of an ongoing labor dispute.
In total, the seaports are responsible for handling billions of dollars in goods, but an announcement was made by companies that employ dockworkers that negotiations for a new contract set for Wednesday were cancelled.
The Pacific Maritime Association said last Friday that they would stop loading and unloading ships because of what they called ongoing union slowdowns.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said they were surprised by the shutdown because early last week the two sides appeared close to reaching an agreement.
The employers now say they won't hire crews to load or unload ships Thursday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday _ when they'd have to pay holiday or weekend wages. Instead, smaller crews will focus on clearing already-unloaded containers off dockside yards.
Cargo is struggling to cross the docks amid historically bad levels of congestion. Employers blame crowded docks on longshoremen staging work slowdowns; dockworkers deny slowing down and say companies are exaggerating to cut their shifts.
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