LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were shut down today after workers refused to cross picket lines set up by striking clerical workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
As a result of the labor unrest, seven of the eight terminals at the Port of Los Angeles were closed. So were three of the six terminals at nearby Port of Long Beach, according to reports from the Reuters news service.
The longshore clerks at the ports are in a dispute with terminal operators over staffing issues. The clerks charge the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (HEA) with trying to outsource their jobs. The HEA argues the union wants them to hire workers that are not needed.
The HEA issued the following statement on today’s growing labor unrest, indicating how tensions are quickly rising:
“Emboldened by ILWU union members’ refusal to honor an Area Arbitrator’s order directing them to return to work, the Office Clerical Unit (OCU) dramatically widened its strike this morning, raising pickets at multiple facilities throughout the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. After picketing for approximately one hour, the OCU returned to work at some harbor employers’ off-terminal facilities, but remained on strike at the terminals, shutting down operations in the ports. The OCU’s conduct shows an irresponsible willingness to jeopardize port operations and thousands of jobs in the Los Angeles area in an effort to pressure the employers into accepting its unreasonable demands.”
The one positive thing in this situation is that most of the holiday season goods have already moved through the ports.