Strike Shuts Down Two California Ports

Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports Shut Down

Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports Shut Down Two of the busiest U.S. ports came to a screeching halt on this week after labor negotiations stalled.  On Tuesday, International Longshore  and Warehouse Union clerical workers walked off the job at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the New York Times reported.

“Seven of the eight container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles remained closed Friday, as did half of the six container terminals at Long Beach, and some ships had begun to divert to other ports,” the New York Times reported.

Clerical workers at the ports have been without a contract for nearly two and a half years. After Monday’s negotiations failed, the workers, with the support of a 10,000 member union , went on strike.

 “A quick resolution is critical to maintaining our status as the country’s premier gateway for trans-Pacific trade and we urge the parties to come to agreement soon,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the union’s clerical workers are some of the highest paid clerical workers in the U.S. and the wage package is worth an average of $195,000 annually, up from $165,000.

The two ports account for 40% of all good shipped to the United States.  Nearly $1 billion worth of goods pass through the ports each day.  The ports’ closures will affect hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Clearly there is a near-term economic impact that expands each day for longshoremen, truckers, railroad engineers and warehouse workers,” said Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the Harbor Employers Association, which represents the terminal operators. “Anyone connected with the shipping chain is not drawing a paycheck today, because of the actions of some of the highest-paid clerical workers in America.”

The Los Angeles Times reported “The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are directly responsible for about 595,000 jobs in Southern California and indirectly support an additional 648,500 jobs.”

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