''Informal'' LA, LB Port Clerical Union Talks To Resume
ILWU and ocean carrier negotiations impact the country's two busiest ports continue today
LOS ANGELES - 07/07/04 - Contract talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and 16 ocean carriers serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have stalled over the "outsourcing of jobs.
But, according to sources, negotiators for the 750 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will meet today with representatives of the affected shipping lines?for "informal" talks.
The negotiations broke off last weekend, said a spokesman for the ILWU's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, which represents some 750 marine clerks that process manifests and export/import documentation at terminals at both ports.
The marine clerk's contract expired June 30.
No decision has been made about a possible strike, with the union "taking a few days off just to regroup," the spokesman said.
Clerical workers will reportedly remain on the job during the ongoing negotiations, but if a strike is called, about 4,000 longshoremen who work the terminals at both ports would honor their picket lines.
"If the union is forced to strike, that would effectively shut down the ports," the spokesman said.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the nation's busiest container ports handling a combined total of more than 11.7 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2003.
If their cargo-handling activities were combined into a "load center," they would rank as the third most active port complex in the world.
The move by the ILWU comes on the heels of a two-week-long work slowdown in May by 600 independent owner-operator truckers that severely impacted the movement of container cargo moving in and out of the state's busiest deepwater ports.
At issue then was the split of the cost of moving containers between the trucking companies and the independents.
Initially, the trucker action was taken to?protest the failure of some trucking companies to pass along a cargo surcharge aimed at offsetting the high cost of diesel fuel.
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