Deal struck to end LA-Long Beach strikes

 05 Dec 2012 04.19pm

  • Dockers return to work as tentative agreement is reached

An agreement has finally been reached between the management of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and striking clerical staff, bringing an end to the eight-day labour dispute that has forced the closure of much of the port complex.

The strike is estimated to have cost the region, which has struggled to recover from a prolonged economic slump, as much as US$8 billion in lost revenue.

Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa said this morning that federal mediators from Washington DC had arrived just as a deal between the respective parties had been struck.

“I think it’s appropriate to say ’mission accomplished’, the Mayor proclaimed.

“The negotiating team has voted to approve a contract that they’ll take to their members.”

Villaraigosa added that shipping authorities, as part of the deal, will no longer look to outsource jobs, which has been one of the union’s major concerns since the dispute began two years ago.

Officials representing the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers (ILWU) Local 63, who waked off the job last Tuesday, said that both clerical workers and longshoreman would return to work today.

“I’m really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of LA and Long Beach are going to start moving cargo,” said the ILWU’s Vice-president Ray Familathe.

“This victory was accomplished because of support from the entire ILWU family in the harbour community,” added ILWU international president Robert McEllrath, who also praised the unity and solidarity of members, their families and thousands of community supporters.
The strikes, which forced the closure of 10 of the 14 terminals at California’s twin-port facility, marked the largest disruption to the flow of cargo on the US west coast since 2002.

However, today’s agreement, despite being met with jubilation on the docks of Los Angeles and Long Beach, will not be finalised until a final vote is passed by union members.