Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su traveled to San Francisco this week to meet with negotiators from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.
The secretary encouraged the parties “to stay at the table and reach an agreement,” Labor Department spokesperson Julie McClain Downey said in a Twitter post.
The visit comes as labor negotiations between the two parties have dragged on for over a year now, and caused multiple gate and port closures over the past two weeks. Shipper groups have called on the Biden administration to help with negotiations and avoid further disruptions.
During a Tuesday press briefing, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said Su’s visit to San Francisco is evidence the labor talks are a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration.
“She remains in the city today working to break down those communication barriers issues that we’ve been stuck on and just keep the parties moving forward as they continue to bargain,” Seroka said.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association said it was encouraged by the labor secretary’s action. The group urged her in a statement to “stay engaged until a resolution is reached that ensures the uninterrupted flow of goods and restores confidence in the West Coast ports as a reliable gateway for global commerce.”