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Deal Struck To End L.A. Port Strike; Walkout Was Delaying Billions In Goods

Posted: December 5, 2012

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From 'Morning Edition': Kirk Siegler and Renee Montagne

Clerical workers walked out a week ago, demanding guarantees that their jobs won't be outsourced in the future. Longshoremen wouldn't cross the picket lines, bringing the nation's busiest ports to a standstill. But work should resume there today.

Work can start again: This ship, loaded with containers, was sitting beneath idle cranes Tuesday at the Port of Los Angeles.

Work can start again: This ship, loaded with containers, was sitting beneath idle cranes Tuesday at the Port of Los Angeles. Robyn Beck

A week-old strike that "crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach" and kept about $1 billion worth of goods a day from arriving on shore is set to end today.

"We've got a deal and people are going back to work," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced late last night, as our colleagues at Southern California Public Radio report.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Kirk Siegler said the work stoppage at the nation's busiest ports was prompted by the walkout of several hundred clerical workers, who wanted guarantees that their jobs won't be outsourced in the future. More than 10,000 regional members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to cross the picket lines.

Details about the deal — struck soon after two federal mediators were called in, which prompted union leaders and company officials to sit down again — haven't been released. But the Los Angeles Times writes that Steve Berry, lead negotiator for the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbor Employers Association, " said the package included unspecified wage and pension increases. He also said there was added job security to the deal, that included a 'no layoff' clause that would go into effect once ratified."

While there is a "huge backlog" of goods waiting to be taken off ships, Kirk said the delays should not affect the arrival of toys and other goods intended for U.S. stores during this holiday season. Retailers got those shipments weeks or months ago.

Though the deal still needs to ratified by workers, KPCC's Wendy Lee reports that union leaders are confident it will be approved. So work can resume today. She was posting updates last night as the news was announced.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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