West Coast shippers and the union representing dockworkers reached a tentative agreement Tuesday on health care benefits, but both sides are still negotiating a series of other issues that will be contained in a new, three-year labor pact, tje Long Beach Post-Telegram reports.


Specifics of the proposed health care package were not immediately disclosed by the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, but unionized dockworkers currently have full medical coverage and a $1 co-pay for prescriptions.


Before negotiations began, the PMA had sought to contain the rising cost of health care for its employees.


"We continue to work toward July 1 as a goal to get this agreement hammered out," said Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the PMA, a consortium of shipping companies operating along the West Coast.


"That said, there are still important issues remaining," Getzug said. "What's significant here is that both sides are talking, that discussions so far have been productive and each side is committed to resolving outstanding issues at the table to keep the West Coast ports running smoothly."

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