Sources: Port dispute focused on arbitrator

Sources say union wants arbitrator David Miller out

Ships unable to dock wait in the water at Astoria during a Port slowdown, Feb. 14, 2015 (Photos from KOIN 6 News)
Ships unable to dock wait in the water at Astoria during a Port slowdown, Feb. 14, 2015 (Photos from KOIN 6 News)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Stalled contract talks that have disrupted billions of dollars of international trade at West Coast seaports now center on the future of one man who resolves workplace disputes.

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 says he figures his decisions have upset someone who is now using contract talks to get back at him.

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