UPDATE: As feared, unionized marine clerks working at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike early today (updates throughout) . . .
Unionized marine clerks working at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike just minutes after their contract with a consortium of 14 shippers and terminal operators expired at midnight today.
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"We're very, very apart with respect to the items we still have on the table," John Fageaux Jr., president of the International Longshore Warehouse Union's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, tells the Daily Breeze.
Still, he remained optimistic about a resolution, saying the union that represents about 950 marine clerks at the twin ports is willing to meet with employers any time.
The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association at first honored the strike but then called workers back to their jobs at 8:30 this morning. The employers' lead negotiator, Stephen Berry, explained it was determined the strike was illegal.
The dispute heading into the strike was the union's contention that jobs and membership were being lost to outsourcing and new technologies. The employers counter no jobs have been lost to either phenomenon, but they fret the strike could damage an economy that's barely recovering from a two-year recession.