Los Angeles / Long Beach Harbor Employers Association


Date: Fri, Nov 30th, 2012

  Talks Resume, but OCU's Strike Continues as Negative Impact Spreads throughout Region

Port Shutdown Wreaking Havoc on Harbor Community and Threatens Severe Damage to National Economy

(LOS ANGELES November 30, 2012, 1:30 p.m.) - The negotiating teams representing employers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the following statement regarding the status of negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit ("OCU"):

Representatives of the harbor employers met last night with OCU leadership in an effort to reach a fair compromise to end the strike initiated by OCU employees.   Talks are set to continue today, but the OCU pickets remain -- and with them, a range of harmful repercussions for tens of thousands of people whose livelihood in the port communities and beyond depends on the cargo moving through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The employers remain committed to reaching a fair agreement as quickly as possible.

The 600 clerks involved in this strike -- the highest paid office clerical workers in America, and who have been offered absolute job guarantees and compensation boosts -- continue to put their own self-interests first.  Their disruptive tactics are irresponsible and callous, and they put at risk good-paying jobs today and in the future -- the same good paying jobs the OCU claims it wants to protect.

Each ship that goes unloaded denies opportunity and a pay check for longshoremen, truckers, railroad engineers, warehouse workers and others along the supply chain locally and nationally.  This is the fourth and most significant disruption engineered by the OCU in the course of 2½ years and feeds into a growing perception that the massive Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are no longer a reliable destination.

The OCU attempt to justify their strike by claiming that the employers outsourced jobs.  But not one OCU job has been sent overseas, or anywhere else, nor have there been any layoffs.  The 51 jobs the OCU identifies no longer exist due to retirements, deaths and normal attrition.  They were not filled because the jobs were no longer needed -- and this was by agreement between the employers and union as a way of avoiding layoffs during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.  The employers are willing to protect every existing job, but will not support keeping artificial staffing levels if they are not needed in the future.  It's really that simple.

The employers are only asking for what every other employer in America has: some ability to determine staffing levels according to business need.  They have already offered the OCU generous wage and pension increases that would raise the average annual compensation package of an OCU employee to $190,000, with pensions of up to $75,000.

The employers continue to welcome the possibility of mediation to resolve this dispute, but the OCU has continued to reject that path to resolution. 

About the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association

The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association is a not-for-profit association representing shipping agencies and terminal operators in Southern California. The Association assists its members in matters relating to the employment of ILWU Local 63 office clerical employees, including the administration of the labor contracts of member companies
Link: http://www.harboremployers.com/web/news/press/details/?LOS-ANGELES-LONG-BEACH-WATERFRONT-LABOR-NEGOTIATIONS-UPDATE-62