Wednesday, August 1, 2012
California senators call for L.A.-Long Beach clerks-employer agreement
The Local unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union that covers 600 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. is reportedly back at the negotiating table today with the employer group that represents the 14 marine terminal operators there, and California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein are pushing for the oft-stalled contract discussions to get resolved sooner than later, fearing either a partial, or complete shutdown of the nation's largest cargo complex.
"With the fragile state of California's economy and growing competition from other U.S. ports, it is essential that both parties reach an agreement that will protect these important jobs and allow the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to continue operating without disruption," the senators said in a letter sent to John Fageaux Jr., president of the ILWU's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, and to Stephen Berry, the lead negotiator for the Harbor Employers Association.
The two sides have been operating without a contract for over two years.
The clerical workers elected to bargain with each HEA member company one at a time on the heels of a coast arbitrator's ruling that ILWU members could honor an OCU picket line. The HEA has since offered up four options for a new contract agreement.
However, the HEA says jobs and technology are the sticking points with the L.A. -Long Beach OCU. The clerical workers group wants new hires despite management's contention there is no current business need, and insisting vendors call, fax or email rather than use an employers' websites, according to the HEA. The terminal operators have also contended OCU workers prefer to manually enter data instead of utilizing automated data transfers.
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