Port Strike Drags On As Talks Lag

Both sides say they've made concessions to no avail

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Monday, Dec 3, 2012  |  Updated 8:31 PM PDT
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A strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have lasted nearly a week, and work stoppage is impacting 40 percent of all goods from Asia that come into the United States. Only four of 14 terminals remained open Monday, when both sides announced they'd made concessions to no avail. Patrick Healy reports from the Port of Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2012.

Patrick Healy

A strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have lasted nearly a week, and work stoppage is impacting 40 percent of all goods from Asia that come into the United States. Only four of 14 terminals remained open Monday, when both sides announced they'd made concessions to no avail. Patrick Healy reports from the Port of Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2012.

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Talks continued Monday in a strike that has idled most of the nation’s busiest seaport for nearly a week.

Clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continued to walk picket lines as their representatives negotiated with representatives from 14 shipping companies over hiring practices and jobs.

Each side blamed the other for the slow pace of negotiations.

John Fageaux, spokesman for Local 63 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said his organization had backed down on a demand that the companies re-hire 51 positions that the union said had been outsourced, but received no productive response from the employers.

But Stephen Berry, an attorney representing the shipping companies, said those jobs had never been outsourced in the first place. Instead, he said, they represented positions that had been held by clerical workers who were not replaced after they retired.

For his part, Berry said that the shipping companies had agreed to one of the union’s key demands, saying that they would hire certain temporary workers from the union’s hiring hall, rather than going to outside contractors.

But he said that the union was not satisfied with that offer. He said the union failed to recognize that the economy had still not recovered from the boom years.
 

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