OAKLAND (KCBS)— The Port of Oakland was just one of 29 West Coast ports affected by a massive three-day labor slowdown, but as of Tuesday operations resumed amid a contract dispute.
Port Spokesman Mike Zampa said even though full operations have resumed, truck traffic was light at the Oakland terminal.
“It may build up as the week goes on, but again, cargo wasn’t being moved on and off ships over the weekend and during the holiday Monday, so there’s not a lot for the truckers to come and pick up today. That’s why you see light volumes at the gate,” he said.
Despite the light trucker loads, a huge backlog could be seen.
“We’ve got 11 vessels at berth today all being worked. We’ve got 19 more vessels at anchor or outside the Golden Gate awaiting berth. There are still plenty of ships vying for space outside the Port of Oakland.
Zampa said this was the case up and down the coast since the temporary slowdown stemming from a labor dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 dock workers.
U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was asked by President Obama to intervene in the stalled contract talks that have disrupted billions of dollars of international trade. Over the weekend, Perez was in touch by phone with both sides.
Dockworkers and their employers disagree on whether they should change the system for arbitrating allegations of work slowdowns, discrimination and other conflicts.
Three people with knowledge of the negotiations say the quarrel is focused on the man who arbitrates grievances at Southern California ports.
They say the union wants arbitrator David Miller out, while employers oppose a change that would permit his immediate removal.
The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
Miller said he figures his decisions have upset someone who is now using contract talks to get back at him.