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UPDATE 5:35 P.M. DECEMBER 11: Long Beach Reaches Tentative Agreement On New IAM Contract

By Joshua H. Silavent
Staff Writer

December 11th, 2012 – Long Beach city management has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the city’s largest non-public safety employee union, IAM spokesperson Ray Rivera told the Business Journal late this afternoon. The city council likely heard the terms of the agreement during a closed session today.

In recent weeks, it became clear that the major sticking point in negotiations centered on the length of a new contract. IAM finally agreed to just a one-year extension through September 30, 2014, in exchange for a guarantee against layoffs and the city council not moving forward on a ballot initiative to roll back compensation levels for librarians, clerks, street sweepers and other union members.

The deal also includes an agreement that IAM members pick up the full 8 percent of CalPERS retirement contributions (known as the “employee fee”), as well as an adjusted compensation formula for new employees, which raises the retirement age to 62 from 55.

IAM members must still approve the deal, Rivera said, as does the Long Beach City Council.

UPDATE 9:45 A.M. DECEMBER 5: Agreement On New Labor Contract Brings Strike To An End

By Joshua H. Silavent
Staff Writer

December 5th, 2012 – The eight-day strike that shut down 10 of 14 container terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles has ended and picketing workers returned to their jobs this morning.

An agreement was reached Tuesday night between employers and clerical union members on a new labor contract.

UPDATE 10 A.M. December 4: Federal Mediator To Enter Talks As Strike Carries On

By Joshua H. Silavent
Staff Writer

December 4th, 2012 – The negotiating teams for harbor employers and clerical workers have agreed to use a federal mediator to try and resolve the labor dispute and union strike that has shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for more than a week.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced this latest development during a pressconference at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s clear to me . . . that the parties need a mediator,” Villaraigosa said, adding that the two sides remained “some bit apart” on an agreement.

The Harbor Employers Association welcomed news of a mediator entering talks. “The union has demonstrated on its own that it is unwilling to meet half way on staffing issues that divide us,” spokesman Steve Getzug told the Business Journal Tuesday morning.

The union is fighting what it says is the outsourcing of jobs to China and elsewhere as more and more clerical work becomes computerized.

The HEA says it has guaranteed current workers absolute job security but that it wants control over hiring and use of temporary employees. Job cuts in recent years are the result of attrition and retirement, employers say. “Outsourcing has been a red herring from the start,” Getzug said.

UPDATE 12/03, 4:45 P.M.: Number Of Ships Diverted Grows

By Joshua H. Silavent
Staff Writer

December 4th, 2012 – The Marine Exchange of Southern California is reporting that 17 ships have now been diverted from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as a result of the ongoing labor dispute, promising more losses to the regional economy as the strike moves into its second week.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wrote to negotiating teams today urging the use of a mediator, an action employers have welcomed but one that union representatives have thus far dismissed. The two sides remain at the bargaining table at this hour.

For past updates and information on this ongoing report, visit our previous coverage here.