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Hundreds of Port Logistics Workers Strike in Long Beach

Hundreds of workers who manage logistics at several terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach went on strike today.

Workers protesting what they see as efforts by shipping companies to oursource clerical jobs went on strike today at the Port of Long Beach.

The striking workers coordinate the movement of goods and billing between shipping companies and large retailers like Target and Walmart.

The strike forced shipping companies to close three of the Port of Los Angeles' eight terminals, port media relations manager Rachel Campbell confirmed. Campbell said only about 25 of the union workers were actually picketing. Several hundred longshoremen were on standby, but refused to cross the picket line. Office Clerical Unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union communications director Craig Merrilees said shipping companies are moving jobs to centers in Omaha, Denver and Salt Lake City.

``The companies are saying, we can pay people a whole lot less if we make these jobs non-union and send them where people are desperate,'' Merrilees said.

Merrilees said workers struck at four port terminals run by Yusen Terminals Incorporated and Ports of America. A spokesman for the shipping companies accused the union of abandoning 20 months of contract talks that would have guaranteed workers job security, pay and generous benefits.

"The union has refused to address the needs of the employers,'' said Stephen Berry, the lead negotiator for the two companies.

"Instead they are pressing demands that would weaken competitiveness at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports while rewarding and sustaining absenteeism and inefficiency.''

Berry said the union workers are the highest paid clerical workers in the nation, receiving an average annual compensation package worth $165,000. The union said its workers are paid well for organizing the flow of goods through the ports, which combined account for about 40 percent of all U.S. imports, and the strike was not about wages. ``We're sick and tired of seeing these wealthy companies outsource good jobs that our communities desperately need now,'' ILWU Local 63 President John Fageaux said.

"We're taking this action to help our communities stand up against the corporate greed that's been wrecking America.'' ILWU workers and representatives of the Pacific Maritime Association were scheduled to hold talks at 5 p.m. today but there was no word on how the negotiations turned out.

Whistle November 30, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I have a idea pay these bastards per move just like we truck drivers get paid per load. I bet they will work there butts off.Im a truck driver sometimes I get my load after 3-4 hours n wait.I feel no pity for these people I never wish anything bad on no one but if these lazy bastards ever where in a situation where they needed my help I would look the other way.
Whistle November 30, 2012 at 04:14 AM
The feeling you get when going into a port to pick load is like going into North Korea you are giving up all your rights.If you speak up you will get banned even if it wasn't your fault.Security there never has your back they are there to protect the ports not drivers.I been banned before and let me tell you I would rather be banned then not to speak my mind.
Steven Whites November 30, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Whistle I agree 100% !!!!!! I'm also a truck Driver at the ports and we have absolutely No rights even if we have done nothing wrong... These lazy Union workers abuse their lunch breaks by taking too many breaks and 1.5 hr Lunch... Work at an extremely low paste... If unions wouldn't exist our ports would be much more productive as people who are not backed by a Union are far more productive and outgoing ....
Tal December 03, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Unions destroy every industry. Our schools are the most expensive and yet have some of the lowest test results. Our auto makers have been on life support for years. If a school wants to fire a pedophile it has to go through the union. I could go on for hours about the unions wrecking America. If it were not for the unions I think we would have many more factory jobs here but now no one will invest because they know the unions will make it impossible to make a profit. Next time you want a Twinkie thank your unions for taking them away. Want a pair of USA shoes or clothes good luck the unions killed those jobs. Now the unions are trying to kill the ports. It is time for the unions to die.
lauren December 23, 2012 at 12:02 AM
All I know is that I have a package that has been at this port since Dec.7th and I still have not gotten it in time for Christmas. This is stupid lets go people get your act together people. You make more than the avg. American

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