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UPDATE 10 A.M. December 3: Strike Continues, Impact Growing As Negotiations Continue

December 3rd, 2012 - With the economic impact of the strike broadening, seven of eight container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and three of six at the Port of Long Beach remain shut down Monday morning as negotiations between employer groups and union workers continue.

Nine ships have been diverted from the seaport since picket lines first went up on November 27. Eleven container vessels are at anchor at this hour, unable to dock and unload.

“The cargo continues to back up,” said Port of Los Angeles spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Port officials have called for a speedy resolution to the labor impasse as breaks in the supply chain are beginning to show, impacting potentially hundreds of thousands of workers across the country. Together, the ports account for more than 40 percent of the nation’s import trade volume.

Eleventh Update posted below, posted 11/30.

UPDATE 11/30, 2:10 P.M.: 8 Ships Diverted From Ports As Negotiations Continue

November 30th, 2012 - According to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, eight ships have been diverted from the ports to Oakland, Mexico and Panama as the strike continued to shut down operations at 10 of 14 terminals in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

It is unknownwhether these vessels would be offloading goods meant to be released at thelocal seaport elsewhere or if they would return here if the strike is resolved soon. It is possible, however, that some non-discretionary goods could be offloaded elsewhere, a potentially costly economic hit to the local ports.

According to sources, it's unclear at what time negotiations will resume this afternoon.

Tenth Update posted below, posted 11/30.

UPDATE 9 A.M., NOV. 30: Port Strike Ongoing As Negotiations Resume

November 30th, 2012 - Union and employer negotiating teams resumed talks at about 7 p.m. Thursday night and are expected to meet again this morning to try and resolve the labor dispute and ongoing strike that has effectively shut down 10 of 14 container terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Picket lines remained in place Friday morning, with about 60 up at the Port of Los Angeles, according to spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Ninth Update posted below, posted 11/29.

UPDATE 3:45 P.M.: Head Of LA Port Calls For Immediate Resolution To Strike

November 29th, 2012 - Port of LosAngeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz has just released the following statement on how the clerical workers strike is crippling business at the ports:

“It’s essential that both sides in this labor dispute return to the negotiating table and resolve this now. We are starting to see ships divert to other ports, including to Mexico. This dispute has impacted not only our port workforce but all stakeholders who ship goods through our complex and potentially the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly related to port operations. In today’s shipping environment, we can’t afford to lose cargo or our competitive advantage.”

Eighth Update posted below, posted 11/29.

UPDATE 3:20 P.M.: State Sen. Alan Lowenthal Statement On Port Strike

November 29th, 2012 - California State Sen. and U.S. Congressman-elect Alan Lowenthal (Democrat) has issued the following statement in support of the striking marine clerical workers:

"I have worked closely with both the ILWU and the port-industry employers over the past 20 years, and I am proud to stand in complete solidarity with the ILWU clerical workers and their supporters in their attempts to prevent good American jobs from being sent overseas. The hard-working members of the OCU have repeatedly sat down over the past two years to bargain in good faith and reach a fair and equitable contract, and I believe their ongoing efforts to protect Americanjobs stands as a strong example for all American workers struggling against the threat of outsourcing. I urge a swift return to the negotiating table and an equally swift and fair resolution that will maintain these jobs in America, for American workers, while still allowing the ports to continue as one of the nation's critical economic engines."

Seventh Update posted below, posted 11/29.

UPDATE 2:45 P.M.: Latest Statement From HEA On Port Strike

November 29th, 2012 - The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association negotiating team has released the following statement (excerpted by the Business Journal) on the Office Clerical Unit workers strike:

"The OCU continues to strike terminals in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach today, completely shutting down operations at 10 of the 14 terminals in theports. The strike has already had a severe impact on the flow of cargo and on jobs in the harbor community, with multiple ships sitting idle at berth or at anchor in the harbor and hundreds of workers in the ports out of work. In an effort to resolve this dispute, the harbor employers have offered to enter into mediation on numerous occasions throughout the last two and one-half years, as recently as this week. However, the OCU rejected the offer and put up pickets instead. These uncompromising and disruptive tactics run counter to the best interests of the Los Angeles region and the nation. Now, the Mayor of Los Angeles has called for the parties to meet with a mediator. The harbor employers welcome that invitation and are ready to meet with a mediator so we can reach a fair agreement and get the cargo flowing again.”

Sixth Update posted below, posted 11/29.

UPDATE: 11/29, 10 A.M.: Port Strike Continues This Morning

November 29th, 2012 - The clerical workers strike at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles continues this morning following a ruling Wednesday by the Coast Labor Relations Committee affirming the rights of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit members to picket after an initial area arbitrator’s ruling Tuesday night had directed them to return to work, union spokesperson Craig Merrilees told the Business Journal Thursday morning.

Three of six container terminals remain shut down at the Port of Long Beach, impacting four vessels, according to spokesperson Art Wong.

Seven of eight container terminals remain shut down at the Port of Los Angeles, impacting 10 vessels, according to spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Six container vessels across both ports are currently anchored in port, but are likely unable to dock because of the strike.

Fifth Update posted below, posted 11/28.

UPDATE 11/28 4:40 P.M.: HEA Issues Statement On Labor Strike

November 28th, 2012 - Negotiating representatives for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (HEA) have issued the following statement on today’s growing labor unrest by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU):

“Emboldened by ILWU union members’ refusal to honor an Area Arbitrator’s order directing them to return to work, the 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.”

Fourth Update posted below, posted 11/28.

UPDATE 11/28 4:30 P.M.: Boxer And Feinstein Call For Resolution To Labor Dispute

November 28th, 2012 - U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have just issued a joint statement calling for a resolution to the escalating labor dispute between the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (HEA) and International Longshore and Warehouse UnionLocal 63 Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU). The strike by clerical workers shutdown several container terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angelestoday.

“We urge both sides to come together and resolve this dispute so we can protect the economy of the Los Angeles region, the West Coast and our nation, which will be adversely affected by the closures at these ports,” the statement reads.

Third Update posted below, posted 11/28.

UPDATE 11/28 3:30 P.M. Clerical Workers Strike Shuts Down Three Of Six Container Terminals At Port Of Long Beach

November 28th, 2012 - The Port of Long Beach has released the following statement on the clerical workers strike:

“Due to labor action three of the six container terminals at the Port of Long Beach have ceased operations as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 28.

The impacted terminals are Long Beach Container Terminal at Pier F, International Transportation Service at Pier G and Total Terminals International at Pier T.

The remaining terminals, SSAT at Pier A, SSA/Matson at Pier C and Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J are operational.”

In addition, picket lines have impacted operations at seven of eight container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles, according to spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Second Update posted below, posted 11/28.

UPDATE 12 P.M.: Clerical Workers Strike Spreading; Union Members Now Picketing At Both Los Angeles And Long Beach Ports

By Joshua H. Silavent
Staff Writer

November 28th, 2012 - The Long Beach Business Journal has confirmed that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU) strike, which began about noon on Tuesday at Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles, is now rapidly spreading.

Picket lines have reportedly gone up at terminals across the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, with sources telling the Business Journal that all 800 members of the union are now likely joining the strike.

Stay tuned for more updates as they come in.

First Update posted below, posted 11/28.

UPDATE 11/28 9:30 A.M. Nov. 28: Clerical Workers Defy Arbitrator’s Ruling, Remain On Strike

November 28th, 2012 – An area arbitrator ruled Tuesday night that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU) had failed to bargain in good faith and that picket lines that went up yesterday afternoon are not bona fide, according to a press release from the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (HEA).

Furthermore, the arbitrator has directed striking longshoremen and marine clerk union members at Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles to return to work, but employees remained on strike Wednesday morning. The HEA reports that it is pursuing contractual grievance procedures in an attempt to force the striking union members “to honor the arbitrator’s award and return to work.”

Craig Merrilees, a spokesman for the union, told the Business Journal Wednesday morning that the arbitrator’s ruling might only be related to longshore workers who had honored the picket line. “I don’t think the operative part of this ruling is whether or not the clerical workers have to return to work, but whether the longshore workers have a basis for respecting the picket line,” he added. Either way, “the workers don’t feel his ruling is valid.”

Merrilees said the Coast Labor Relations Committee would likely convene to review the validity of the arbitrator’s ruling.

Original story below, posted 11/27.

Clerical Workers Strike At Port Of Los Angeles

November 27th, 2012 – Amid an ongoing labor dispute with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (HEA), workers from the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 63’s Office Clerical Unit (63-OCU) went on strike at Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles beginning at noon today.

The union is protesting what it says is the continued outsourcing of clerical jobs by major terminal operators and shipping companies. The picket at Pier 400 impacts APM Terminals and California United Terminals, according to Port of Los Angeles spokesperson Phillip Sanfield, and includes an unknown number of workers.

HCVT - Certified Public Accountants

“It’s not about wages and benefits, it’s about outsourcing and the future of good jobs in America and our harbor communities,” 63-OCU President John Fageaux said in a statement. “We just reached the point where somebody had to stand up and draw the line against outsourcing, because these companies will eventually take all the good jobs.”

The union, which represents 800 members throughout the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, estimates that 51 permanent jobs have been outsourced in the past 5 years, spokesperson Craig Merrilees told the Business Journal in an e-mail Tuesday morning prior to the strike.

“The big, powerful, multi-national corporations have been unwilling to even admit that they’ve been outsourcing good jobs – even when they’ve been caught red-handed,” Merrilees said.

On November 20, representatives from the HEA sent out a press release stating that the union had broken off negotiations, a foretelling of Tuesday’s strike, despite the association having accepted several union demands regarding a new contract. The previous contract expired on June 30, 2010. The HEA’s latest proposal included a guarantee against layoffs, maintenance of employee benefits, hourly wage increases for two years and pension contributions, among other things.

“The OCU rejected these proposals and presented counterproposals containing some of the most egregious demands the union has made since these negotiations began two and one-half years ago,” the HEA said in the press release, citing, as one example, a union demand that additional employees be hired to replace those who have retired during the last three years. “These demands represent a complete reversal from an agreement the OCU officers made in August to relinquish their prior demand that employers hire additional, unnecessary employees.”

Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the HEA, told the Business Journal that both sides met at the negotiating table on Monday and that employers offered new concessions. “Our view is that the employers continue to try to bargain in good faith,” he said.

The strike remains ongoing at this time. “We are moving forward through the arbitration process now to try to get the clerks back to work,” Getzug said.

“We know that both sides understand the critical importance of keeping cargo moving through the San Pedro Bay complex and we urge them to work diligently toward finding a mutually agreeable solution,” Sanfield told the Business Journal.