Orange County Business Journal

Ports Reopen on Tentative Labor Pact

James Rufus Koren Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports reopened today after clerks and their shipping company employers struck a tentative deal.

The agreement ended a week-long strike that shut down most of the neighboring ports.

Both sides agreed Tuesday to work with a federal mediator on a final deal that will require approval of the full membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Local 63’s Office and Clerical Unit, or OCU.

The strike started Nov. 27 at a single terminal in Los Angeles and spread to other terminals the next day. The action ultimately closed 10 of the 14 cargo terminals at the local ports.

The OCU and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association, which represents terminal operators, have been negotiating on a new labor pact for more than two years. The union has said that shipping companies have cut 51 workers through attrition over the past few years by farming work out to non-union employees in Texas and Taiwan.

The employers have said that the union agreed to let terminal operators reduce the number of employees through attrition and that the latest contract offer to the union includes a promise of total job security, as well as a significant raise. The employers say the average OCU worker makes $165,000 annually, and that the new offer would raise that to $195,000.

Koren is a staff reporter with the Los Angeles Business Journal, a sister publication of the Orange County Business Journal