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Rail News: Labor

Strike ends at L.A.-area ports


On Tuesday, members of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63's Office Clerical Unit (OCU) and 14 employers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., reached a tentative six-year agreement, ending an eight-day strike that impacted operations at 10 of the ports' 14 terminals. The terminals resumed normal operations early yesterday morning.

The tentative pact, which covers 450 office clerical workers, includes new protections that would help prevent jobs from being outsourced to Texas, Taiwan and other areas, ILWU officials said in a prepared statement.

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

Port workers represented by the OCU had been trying to negotiate a new agreement with international carriers and terminal operators for more than two years since their previous three-year contract expired on June 30, 2010. Workers began walking off the job on Nov. 27 because contract bargaining had reached an impasse.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa credited the parties and federal mediators for forging the agreement and ending the strike, which cost the local economy "billions of dollars," he said in a statement issued yesterday.

"The result is a contract amenable to both sides and the return to work during this holiday season for thousands of men and women who are vital to keeping our port running around the clock," said Villaraigosa. "With the strike now ending, we must waste no time in getting the nation's busiest port complexes back up to speed."

It will take a few weeks to unwind the backlog at the port terminals, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts said in a report issued yesterday.

"Anecdotally, domestic intermodal providers allowed containers to build at the port during the strike. Truckload capacity requests have begun," Baird analysts said. "But available truckload capacity is expected to tighten quickly and as such much of the inbound freight is expected to remain on rail (both international and domestic intermodal) for shipment."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/6/2012