Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mediations On The Waterfront

From the west coast of Florida to the West Coast, mediations have been ordered in two brewing waterfront controversies. Here, a lawsuit threatens to delay St. Petersburg City Council's allocation $5.4 million to begin work on a new pier. Circuit Judge Amy Williams ordered the city and a citizens group to mediation to come up with ballot language in a claim against the city that seeks a public referendum on the $50 million project. Also at issue is whether to save a 40-year-old inverted pyramid sitting on the 90-year-old pier structure. The city council voted 7-1 in 2010 to demolish the Pier-- a landmark structure on the downtown waterfront since it was constructed in 1973-- after engineers determined the 1,000-plus pilings undergirding it are coming to the end of their useful life. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, both sides in the strike crippling the ports of L.A. and Long Beach have agreed to federal mediation. Workers belonging to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union went on strike last month against an employer group of shipping lines and terminal owners, causing most cargo container terminals at the nation's busiest seaport complex to shut down. The union says the employers transferred work from higher-paid union members to lower-paid employees. The employers dispute that claim, saying they offered the workers full job security and generous wage and pension increases. Mediation will surely produce sink or swim results in these disputes. See news items at and