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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Port Employers and Strikers Agree to Federal Mitigation

Both sides involved in the Longshore port strike have agreed to meet with a federal mediator. 

Mayor Antonio Villariagosa announced Tuesday that both parties involved in the Los Angeles and Long Beach port strike have agreed to federal mediation. 

The announcement came as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union went on its eighth day of strikes. 

Villaraigosa, who flew back to Los Angeles from a South American trade mission trip, joined contract talks between union representatives and port employers around midnight but was unable to broker a deal. 

Strikers at The Port of Los Angeles (Tiffany Taylor/ATVN)
Strikers at The Port of Los Angeles (Tiffany Taylor/ATVN)

“We have met all night. We have worked across the table with a number of proposals. It is still clear to me we’re some bit apart, although progress has been made,” Villaraigosa said Tuesday. 

Villaraigosa said he spoke by phone with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen and asked him to send a mediator. 

The two sides are deadlocked over whether the employers can outsource work functions of the clerical workers after positions become open or whether the shipping companies have to hire more clerical workers to replace union members who retire or leave for other jobs. 

The strike, which is costing California’s economy roughly $1 billion a day, has shut down 10 of the 14 cargo terminals at the nation’s busiest port complex. 

The mayor hopes that involving a third party negotiator will help bring an end to the strike. 

“Obviously the goal is to get back (to work) if we could, and I’m certainly hopeful that can happen. But I know this – if they’re not at the table, one you can’t get a deal, and two,…they need a third-party intervention, and that’s what they have agreed to do."

The strike is the largest work stoppage at the ports since shipping companies locked workers out for 10 days in 2002. 

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