A strike Tuesday by clerical workers at the Port of L.A. shut down its largest of eight terminals but so far it has not impacted the Port of Long Beach, which shares the same shipping basin.
About 75 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit at the Port of Los Angeles went on strike Tuesday in response to what they called stalled contract talks with their employer, APM Terminals.
APM Terminals, a subsidiary of global shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, called the strike by the ILWU a``disappointing development.''
But there were no stoppages at any of the Port of Long Beach's six terminals, according to spokesman Art Wong.
"We’re told that so far [there was] only picketing at one terminal at the Port of Los Angeles," said Wong, assistant director of communications for the port, part of the nation's largest shipping harbor.
The strike shut down APM Terminals, which operates Pier 400, the port's busiest. Other Pier 400 dock workers were honoring the picket line. Contract talks broke down after two-and-a-half years, but the sticking point was not wages and benefits, according to the union. It said its members were protesting attempts to outsource some clerical work to other states and countries.
``This is not a dispute over money,'' ILWU Local 63 O.C.U President John Fageaux Jr. said. ``Employers continue to use technology as a way to outsource jobs, and we're trying to put an end to that.
"These are good paying jobs that we want to keep here in the community,'' Fageaux said.
Negotiators for the shipping company disputed the union's outsourcing claims.
``Not one OCU job has been sent overseas, or anywhere else,'' the company's negotiators said in a statement. On the contrary, the negotiators argued, APM Terminals has offered clerical workers complete protection against outsourcing, including a guarantee against layoffs and a commitment to pay the vast majority of the workers for 40 hours per week for every week of the year.
Fageaux said his members will strike ``until we get a contract.'' The clerk's union represents about 800 clerks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
--City News Service contributed to this report.