West Coast ports employers say shutdown could be days away

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Thursday, February 5, 2015
Port of Oakland
Port of Oakland
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu-AP

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The head of the West Coast ports issued an ultimatum Wednesday that could shut down the ports by next week, including the one in Oakland.

He said employers could lock-out longshoremen in the next five to 10 days if they can't reach a deal on a new labor contract.

Longshoremen have staged a work slowdown to pressure negotiators.

In a YouTube video statement, the president of the Pacific Maritime Association said the slowdown is causing gridlock.

"These slowdowns are having the same result as a worker's strike, except that workers are still getting a paycheck," James McKenna, CEO of the Pacific Maritime Association, said. "The slowdowns need to stop. The terminals cannot withstand anymore. We are truly close to gridlock."

The longshoremen's union said small differences are holding up a deal.

The latest contract offer gives dockworkers an annual salary of $167,000 a year.