Federal mediator agrees to enter West Coast dockworkers, ports contract dispute

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal mediator has agreed to intervene in stalled contract talks between West Coast dockworkers and their employers.

Political and financial pressure has been building as each side blamed the other for the slow movement of billions worth of cargo across the docks at 29 seaports that are a vital trade link with Asia.

The association representing shipping lines and operators of port terminals that employ dockworkers requested federal help last month, but the union resisted.

On Monday, the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said it would get involved based upon "a joint request for assistance."

Neither the International Longshore and Warehouse Union nor the Pacific Maritime Association commented on the announcement.