Deal Reached To End Port Strike That Was Costing The US $1 Billion Per Day

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest U.S. port complex, agreed to end an eight-day strike that affected about $1 billion of trade a day.

Workers and management reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, according to a statement late yesterday on the website of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union. The deal came after talks were held with federal mediators.

The strike cost the local economy “billions of dollars,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said in a separate statement. The two ports, which together handle about a third of U.S. container imports, shuttered 10 of 14 cargo-box terminals, stranding shipments of toys, furniture and clothes in the run-up to the holiday period.

“We must waste no time in getting the nation’s busiest port complex’s operations back up to speed,” Villaraigosa said.

The clerical workers, paid $41 an hour, walked out on Nov. 27 after working without a contract for 30 months. The dispute mainly focused on long-term job security rather than pay. The union wanted assurances that work wouldn’t be moved overseas. The terminal operators were seeking great flexibility in hiring so that positions were only filled if needed, according to a Dec. 1 statement.

“Our campaign was always focused on securing good jobs and stopping the outsourcing that threatened working families in our harbor communities,” ILWU International Vice President Ray Familathe said in the union’s statement.

The shutdown left 15 ships sitting at piers waiting to be unloaded earlier this week and another 11 at anchor offshore, Richard McKenna, executive director of the San Pedro-based Marine Exchange of Southern California, which monitors harbor traffic. Another 18 vessels had been diverted to other ports, mostly to Oakland, California, and to Mexico, he said.

–Editors: Neil Denslow, Dave McCombs


To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Denslow at [email protected]


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at [email protected]