U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is in his second day of talks with both sides of the dispute between West Coast dockworkers and their employers. Some analysts doubt Perez will be able to end the disagreement.
Jock O'Connell is a Sacramento-based trade advisor for the consulting firm Beacon Economics. On Insight with Beth Ruyak today, he pointed out that a federal mediator has been trying to end the fight for the past month.
"The federal mediators are very well-skilled and trained in trying to find common ground," says O'Connell. "They've not been able to bring the two sides together. So it's doubtful that, unless the Secretary of Labor has brought something from Washington that will influence the outcome, that there's going to be any material change on what's happening."
"Unless the president has equipped the Labor Secretary with some message that will move one side or the other," says O'Connell, "it's doubtful that he himself has the gravitas to persuade the opposing sides to alter their positions. These are some hard-nose negotiators."
Political and economic pressure is rising for agreement on a contract that would reduce cargo bottlenecks at 29 ports that handle about one trillion dollars of trade annually.