Striking clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have agreed with management to federal mediation in hopes to put an end to a week long strike that has crippled the United States’ largest port complex.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the agreement to mediation Tuesday following an all-night bargaining session between the Office Clerical Unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 and a group of shippers represented by the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association. The clerical workers have been working without a contract for nearly 30 months and allege that jobs have been shipped out of state and overseas.
“After an all-night negotiating session at the Port of Los Angeles, I am pleased to announce that both labor and management have agreed to work with a federal mediator to resolve the Port strike that is costing our local economy billions of dollars,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. “The federal mediator is currently en route from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles. I am heartened that both parties continue to negotiate with a renewed sense of urgency.”
Contract negotiations between the two groups first broke down last Monday, causing clerical workers from ILWU local 63 to walk off the job starting Tuesday. Meanwhile longshoremen and other union members have refused to cross picket lines.
As of Tuesday seven of eight shipping terminals a the Port of Los Angeles were shut down while three of six were closed at Long Beach. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the strike is affecting the movement of an estimated $1 billion of cargo a day.
The director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George Cohen, issued a statement Tuesday that he and his deputy, Scot Beckenbaugh, would “convene the parties for an initial meeting at a date and location to be determined.”